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Reporting Child Abuse & Neglect

Promoting the safety of minors

Under Governor’s Executive Order #54 (EO 54), all UW System employees are mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect and have an obligation to report directly to the authorities. At UW–Eau Claire, this mandate includes volunteers and contractors working on behalf of the university.

As an employee, volunteer or contractor, it is critical that you understand your obligation to report, what to report and how to report. The information on this page is only an overview.

Report Child Abuse or Neglect

If there is an emergency or a child is in immediate danger, call 911
​​​​​​​​​To report

Call University Police | 715.839.4972


Why must I report?

Requirements for Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect

In accordance with the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire policy on Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect, all UW–Eau Claire employees (under Wisconsin Executive Order #54, or EO 54), are required to immediately report child abuse or neglect to University Police if, in the course of employment, the employee observes an incident or threat of child abuse or neglect, or learns of an incident or threat of child abuse or neglect, and the employee has reasonable cause to believe that child abuse or neglect has occurred or will occur. Volunteers and contractors working for UW–Eau Claire sponsored programs or activities are also expected to report suspected abuse or neglect.

A UW–Eau Claire employee who is a mandatory reporter under Wis. Stat. 48.981(2)(a) shall comply with the requirements of the state mandatory reporter law while working in their professional role.

Services and Protection

Deciding to get involved in a situation of suspected abuse or neglect can be difficult. It is, however, a decision that may be crucial to a child not only today, but also in the future.

Caregivers or maltreaters who have abused or neglected their children may need services and support to provide safe care for their children. The sooner an issue is reported, the sooner the child can be helped.

No UW–Eau Claire employee making a report of suspected child abuse or neglect to University Police, in good faith, may be discharged from employment, disciplined, or otherwise discriminated against in regard to employment, or threatened with any such treatment, for so doing.


What do I report?

Definition of Child

For purposes of reporting child abuse and neglect, a “child” is a person who is less than 18 years of age.

Physical injury inflicted on a child by other than accidental means. Physical injury includes, but is not limited to, lacerations, fractured bones, burns, internal injuries, severe or frequent bruising, or great bodily harm.

Signs of physical abuse
    • bruises and welts
    • injuries in the shape of an object (e.g., a belt or cord)
    • unexplained burns on palms, soles of feet, back
    • fractures that do not fit the story of how an injury occurred
    • delay in seeking medical help
    • extremes in behavior: very aggressive or withdrawn and shy
    • afraid to go home
    • frightened of parents
    • fearful of other adults

Sexual intercourse or sexual touching of a child; recording or displaying of a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct; forcing a child to view or listen to sexual activity; exposing genitals or pubic area to a child or exposing a child’s genitals or pubic area for purposes of sexual gratification; or permitting, allowing, or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution.

Signs of sexual abuse
    • pain, swelling or itching in genital area
    • bruises, bleeding, discharge in genital area
    • difficulty walking or sitting, frequent urination, pain
    • stained or bloody underclothing
    • venereal disease
    • refusal to take part in gym or other exercises
    • poor peer relationships
    • unusual interest in sex for age
    • drastic change in school achievement
    • runaway or delinquent
    • regressive or childlike behavior

Note: Sexual abuse does not include consensual sexual contact with anyone 16-17 years old.

“Emotional damage” for which the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian has neglected, refused or been unable, for reasons other than poverty, to obtain the necessary treatment or take steps to ameliorate the symptoms.

Emotional damage is defined as harm to a child’s psychological or intellectual functioning which is exhibited by severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or aggression. Emotional damage may be demonstrated by substantial and observable changes in behavior, emotional response, or learning which are incompatible with the child’s age or stage of development.

Signs of emotional damage
    • low self-esteem
    • self-denigration
    • severe depression
    • aggression
    • withdrawal
    • severe anxiety

When a parent or caretaker fails, refuses, or is unable, for reasons other than poverty, to provide the necessary care, food, clothing, medical or dental care, or shelter, which seriously endangers the physical health of the child.

Signs of neglect
    • poor hygiene, odor
    • inappropriately dressed for weather
    • needs medical or dental care
    • left alone, unsupervised for long periods
    • failure to thrive, malnutrition
    • constant hunger, begs or steals food
    • extreme willingness to please
    • frequent absence from school
    • arrives early and stays late at school or play areas or other people’s homes

Behaviors or conditions a child is exposed to that are dangerous to the child and likely to result in abuse or neglect.

Signs of threatened abuse or neglect

Identify behaviors or conditions that are dangerous or becoming dangerous to a child. Consider the possibility of threatened abuse or neglect when you observe or become aware of the following:

    • Minor injuries that are cause for concern, including bruising on a non-mobile child; bruising or scrapes to vulnerable parts of a child’s body; or an escalating pattern of corporal punishment that increases in severity or frequency.
    • Exposure to violence, even if a child has not yet been injured, when there is domestic violence or a violent person in the home.
    • Exposure to dangerous people or situations, including previous abusers or criminal activity.
    • An impaired caregiver, when there is no one else in the home to provide necessary care or protection.

The criminal manufacture of methamphetamines is defined as child abuse when it is done under any of the following circumstances:

    • A child is present.
    • It is manufactured in a child’s home, on the premises of a child’s home, or in a motor vehicle on the premises of a child’s home.
    • It is manufactured under any other circumstances where a reasonable person should have known that the manufacture would be seen, smelled, or heard by a child.
Signs of exposure to methamphetamine manufacture

Consider the possibility of meth manufacture in a child’s environment when you see or become aware of the following in a child, particularly in combination:

    • painful or burning eyes or eye irritation
    • skin irritation and redness or burns
    • sneezing and chronic coughing, congestion, or fever
    • chest pain, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath
    • vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea
    • headaches
    • rapid heart rate
    • jaundice or dark-colored urine
    • extreme irritability

How do I report?

If there is an emergency or a child is in immediate danger, call 911.
If there is an emergency or a child is in immediate danger, call 911.

To report, contact University Police at 715.839.4972 or police@uwec.edu. They will assist you in making a report.

Additional Campus Reporting Requirement

You fulfill your legal obligation under EO 54 when you report to University Police. In some cases, you must also make an internal campus report. Find instructions in the Additional Campus Reporting Requirement panel below.

If there is an emergency or a child is in immediate danger, call 911.

Reports must be given immediately by telephone or in person to University Police - no voicemail or email. University Police will not disclose information about who made a report unless they are court ordered.

Explain, as well as you can, what happened or is happening to the child. Describe the nature of the abuse or neglect and the involved parties. Be as specific as possible. Be prepared to give the name, address and telephone number of the child, and also the name of the parent or caregiver, if known. Even if you do not know all of this information, report what you do know. Tell all you know about the situation.

Privacy Laws

If you learn about abuse or neglect from an education record of a matriculated student, a medical record or from a patient in a healthcare setting, various privacy laws may affect your ability to make a report to University Police. If you have questions about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), or state medical records laws, please contact UW-Eau Claire Affirmative Action Office at 7156.836.2387.


Questions?

You may ask questions about your duty to report child abuse or neglect in order to determine if a report is necessary. However, do not delay making a report in order to wait for answers. If you are unsure about making a report, contact:

University Police | 715.836.2222

For general questions about Mandatory Reporting training, other reporting obligations or your responsibilities as a UW–Eau Claire employee or volunteer, contact:

Office of Risk Management, Safety & Sustainability | safety@uwec.edu