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Hi - family friends 14 year old son touched 11 year old girls

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Hi - family friend's 14 year old son touched 11 year old girl's bottom over clothes. Families have gotten together and asked kids questions separately and both kids say it happened once- no words were spoken and the girl was uncomfortable, but never felt threatened or unsafe... What are the laws in the state of SC in terms of what therapists have to report? Neither family wants charges to be filed, but do want professional help for the children.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Attorney Wayne replied 1 year ago.
PLEASE DO NOT use the rating system until satisfied. Instead, please click CONTINUE CONVERSATION for more info.

Hello. Thanks for contacting us.

South Carolina therapists are required to report abuse, but that reporting requirement is tempered by the following from the state's reporting law, which says the incident must give "the person reason to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by acts or omissions that would be child abuse or neglect...."

You can read the law at this link: http://tiny.cc/ikn8pw

I wish you and the parents all the best in working through this matter.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So the therapist has discretion as to report or not?
Expert:  Attorney Wayne replied 1 year ago.
There is some within reason. As noted, there must be "reason to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by acts or omissions that would be child abuse or neglect...."

The judgment call involves a separate statutory framework, which defines child abuse as occurring when a parent, guardian or person responsible for supervising children

"commits or allows to be committed against the child a sexual offense as defined by the laws of this State or engages in acts or omissions that present a substantial risk that a sexual offense as defined in the laws of this State would be committed against the child; "

You can read this section at this link: http://tiny.cc/d8p8pw

The mere act of one minor inappropriately touching another minor is not by definition child abuse (although it may be a crime depending on the circumstances). So there is not a direct legal command to report it. As you can see, there is a situational element involved.

But the decision is completely-fact-based -- and because that analysis can only be done confidentially by one's own attorney, protected by attorney-client privilege, this forum cannot provide that kind of detailed analysis. (You wouldn't want all those facts on the web, would you??).

But as you can see from the information provided, there is some leeway, since the law does not require reporting of any touching of a juvenile, period, by another juvenile. If it did that, there would be lots more kids in the system as they begin to explore their maturing physical abilities.
Attorney Wayne, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1506
Experience: Practicing law since 2000.
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