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NCJ Number: 148848 Find in a Library
Title: Reporting of Child Abuse: Is Absolute Immunity Too Much to Offer?
Journal: Journal of Juvenile Law  Volume:14  Dated:(1993)  Pages:167-177
Author(s): C S Steinberg
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 11
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Issues raised by the granting of immunity to people who report child abuse are explored.
Abstract: The courts, both California appellate courts and Federal circuit courts, have had a difficult time deciding just how to handle the issue of false reports to child abuse. Providing immunity to those who report child abuse encourages them to step forward rather than refuse to report out of a fear of civil or criminal liability. As the courts and the legislatures face growing concern from the public, they are responding by affording increased protection to child abuse reporters and investigators by granting or finding absolute immunity in a growing number of cases. Victims of false reports of child abuse are left to seek redress, generally by bringing a tort claim or a violation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. section 1983. If the defendant has been granted absolute immunity, a court will grant a dismissal of the action upon a motion by the defense counsel. This note discusses the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, the immunity provided at California Penal Code section 11172(a), and the leading case interpreting the immunity afforded by this section, Storch v. Silverman, 186 Cal. App. 3d 671, 231 Cal. Rptr. 27 (1986). Other cases involving the immunity issue also are presented. The author concludes that the review of the cases supports the position that absolute immunity is an unnecessary protection and urges Supreme Court guidance on the issue. Footnotes
Main Term(s): Juveniles
Index Term(s): Child abuse reporting; Courts; Juvenile victims
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