Child Abuse And Neglect Reporting

  • Any person employed by a public or private institution of higher education (i.e. every UVA employee) is required by law to report suspected instances of child abuse and neglect (§63.2-1509 of the Code of Virginia)

  • Make reports to the local Social Services Department or to the Department of Social Services (DSS) toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline 1.800.552.7096


What is an abused or neglected child?

The Code of Virginia §63.2-100 defines an abused or neglected child as any child under 18 years of age whose parent or any person responsible for his or her care

  • causes or threatens to cause a non-accidental physical or mental injury

  • has a child present during the manufacture of a controlled substance or during the unlawful sale of such substance where such activity would constitute a felony violation

  • neglects or refuses to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, emotional nurturing, or health care

  • abandons the child

  • neglects or refuses to provide adequate supervision in relation to a child’s age and level of development

  • knowingly leaves a child alone in the same dwelling with a person, not related by blood or marriage, who has been convicted of an offense against a minor for which registration is required as a violent sexual offender

  • commits or allows to be committed any illegal sexual act upon a child, including incest, rape, indecent exposure, or prostitution, or allows a child to be used in any sexually explicit visual material


When should you make a report?

Call DSS or the hotline whenever you believe that a person who is caring for a child, who lives with a child, or who works with and around children has caused injury or harm or put the child at risk of physical injury, as defined in the Code of Virginia. For example, you should call if

  • you see someone hitting a child with an object

  • you see marks on a child’s body that do not appear to have been caused by an accident

  • a child tells you that he or she has been harmed by someone

  • a child appears to have been left alone, dressed inappropriately for the weather, or appears to be undernourished

You are required to report the matter as soon as possible, and no longer than 24 hours after having reason to suspect a reportable offense of child abuse or neglect.


Where should you report suspected child abuse or neglect?

  • Local office of the Department of Social Services (Albemarle County Department of Social Services: 434.972.4010)
  • Department of Social Service’s state-wide toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline: 1.800.552.7096
  • University Police: 434.924.7166

You can notify your supervisor or other University administrators in addition to reporting to one of the agencies above.


What legal protections do UVA employees have when making reports?

You are immune from civil or criminal liability if you do the following, unless you are acting in bad faith or with malicious purpose

  • make a report or provide records or information pursuant to §63.2-1509
  • testify in any judicial proceeding arising from such reports or information

What are the penalties for failing to make a required timely report?

  • You may be fined up to $500 for the first failure and at least $1,000 for subsequent failures
  • If you knowingly and intentionally fail to make reports in cases involving rape, sodomy, or object sexual penetration, you may be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor

Understand your legal obligation to report child abuse or neglect

Questions about child abuse or neglect reporting? Contact University Human Resources Service Team at 434.982.0123 or AskHR@virginia.edu