Mandatory Reporters

Who are mandatory child abuse reporters?

Any of the following persons is required to report their suspicion of child abuse to the local human services agency, local police or county sheriff immediately if, (a) they are seeing the child in the course of their professional duties, (b) they suspect that the child has been abused or neglected, or (c) the child has been threatened with abuse or neglect and that abuse or neglect will occur:

  1. Physician
  2. Coroner
  3. Medical examiner
  4. Nurse
  5. Dentist
  6. Chiropractor
  7. Optometrist
  8. Acupuncturist
  9. Medical or mental health professional not otherwise specified
  10. Social worker
  11. Marriage and family therapist
  12. Professional counselor
  13. Public assistance worker, including a financial and employment planner
  14. School teacher, administrator, counselor, and all school employees not otherwise listed
  15. Family court services mediator
  16. Child care worker in a day care center, group home or residential care center for children and youth
  17. Day care provider
  18. Alcohol or other drug abuse counselor
  19. Member of the treatment staff employed by or working under contract with a county department or a residential care center for children and youth
  20. Physical therapist
  21. Physical therapist assistant
  22. Occupational therapist
  23. Dietitian
  24. Speech language pathologist
  25. Audiologist
  26. Emergency medical technician
  27. First responder
  28. Police or law enforcement officer
  29. Court appointed special advocate
  30. Member of the clergy, except information that he or she receives solely through confidential communications made to him or her privately or in a confessional setting if he or she is authorized to hear or is accustomed to hearing such communications and, under the disciplines, tenets, or traditions of his or her religion, has a duty or is expected to keep those communications secret. (See section 48.981 of the Wisconsin Statutes)

No person may be fired from their job for reporting suspected abuse.

How to make a report

Step 1: Once a young person tells you that they have experienced an abuse, let them know that you believe them and don’t pressure them to give you more information or ask leading questions like “did your dad do this to you?” The best thing you can do is be supportive and let them know that you are required to make a report and answer all questions honestly.

Step 2: If the report comes through your work on the job, notify your supervisor and talk about your decision to make the report.

Step 3: If possible, notify the child’s family about the report and what to expect.  You are required to make a report within twenty-four hours of the disclosure about the abuse.

Step 4: Make the report. If you are concerned about a child residing in Milwaukee County, you should call the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services at 414-220-SAFE (414-220-7233). To find information about reporting alleged abuse or neglect regarding a child residing in any other Wisconsin County, click here:

Give your name and contact information if you are comfortable. Give as much information about the child that you can. They will assign an investigator and they will call you back with follow-up information if you gave them your contact.

Step 5: Create a safety plan with the young person. Talk about the experience with your supervisor. Take care of yourself. Sometimes the person making the report experiences what we call secondary trauma.

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