Arizona law requires certain persons to report obvious or suspected child abuse or neglect to the Child Protective Services (CPS) in the Department Of Economic Security or local law enforcement. If the person suspects that a child has received non-accidental injuries it must be reported.[i] The term “person” is defined in A.R.S. § 13-3620(A) as:
1. Any physician, physician’s assistant, optometrist, dentist, osteopath, chiropractor, podiatrist, behavioral health professional, nurse, psychologist, counselor or social worker who develops the reasonable belief in the course of treating a patient.
2. Any peace officer, member of the clergy, priest or Christian Science practitioner.
3. The parent, stepparent or guardian of the minor.
4. School personnel or domestic violence victim advocate who develop the reasonable belief in the course of their employment.
5. Any other person who has responsibility for the care or treatment of the minor.
Any person who reasonably believes that a minor is or has been the victim of physical injury, abuse, child abuse, a reportable offense or neglect of non-accidental nature; or has been denied or deprived necessary medical treatment or surgical care or nourishment with the intent to cause or allow the death of an infant who is protected under section 36-2281 (dealing with prohibition to the denial of nutritional and medical aid to infants) shall immediately report or cause reports to be made of this information to a peace officer or to Child Protective Services in the Department Of Economic Security. If the report concerns a person who does not have the care, custody or control of the minor, it shall be made to a peace officer only.[ii]
Any individual other than the one required to report or cause reports to be made who reasonably believes that a minor was subject to child abuse, physical injury, a reportable offense or neglect may report the information to a peace officer or to CPS. [iii]
A member of the clergy, Christian Science practitioner or priest who has received a confidential communication or a confession in the course of performing his/her religious duty may not disclose such information if the religious practitioner determines that it is reasonable and necessary to withhold such information within the concepts of the religion. However, the religious practitioner is bound to report any personal observations of child abuse or neglect. [iv]
A report may not be made for conduct prescribed by sections 13-1404 (dealing with sexual abuse classification)and 13-1405 (dealing with classification of sexual conduct with a minor) if the conduct involves only minors who are fourteen, fifteen, sixteen or seventeen years of age and there is nothing to indicate that the conduct is other than consensual. [v]
Any physician, psychologist or behavioral health professional who receives a statement from a person other than a parent, stepparent, guardian or custodian of the minor while providing sex offender treatment that is not court ordered or that does not occur while the offender is incarcerated in the State Department Of Corrections or The Department Of Juvenile Corrections may withhold reporting of the statement if they reasonably believe that such non disclosure is necessary to accomplish the purposes of the treatment. [vi]
Reporting of child abuse must be made immediately either by telephone or in person. Within 72 hours of oral report, a written report must be filed. The reports shall contain: [vii]
a) Names and addresses of the minor and the minor’s parents or the person or persons having custody of the minor, if their identity is known;
b) The minor’s age;
c) Nature and extent of the child abuse, physical injury or neglect. Evidence, if any, of previous child abuse, physical injury or neglect must also be included; and
d) Any other information that the person believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of the child abuse, physical injury or neglect.
When oral reports are received by a peace officer, the officer shall immediately notify CPS in the Department of Economic Security and make the information available to them. If the CPS receives telephone or in person reports, it shall immediately notify a peace officer in the appropriate jurisdiction.[viii]
Any person who is required to receive reports may take or cause to be taken photographs of the minor and the vicinity involved. He/She may also perform medical examinations of the minor involved. [ix]
A person who produces a report, information or records required or authorized under A.R.S. § 13-3620 (dealing with duty to report child abuse, neglect, and physical injury,) or a person who participates in a judicial or administrative proceeding or investigation resulting from a report, information or records required or authorized under A.R.S. § 13-3620, is immune from any civil or criminal liability by reason of that action. However, the immunity does not apply to any person who acted with malice or is charged with or is suspected of abusing or neglecting the child or children in issue.
A person who fails to report child abuse or neglect is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor, except if the failure to report involves a reportable offense (as defined in A.R.S. § 13-3620(P)(4)), the person is guilty of a class 6 felony.[x]
[i] A.R.S. § 13-3620(A)
[ii] A.R.S. § 13-3620(A)
[iii] A.R.S. § 13-3620(F)
[iv] A.R.S. § 13-3620(A)
[v] A.R.S. § 13-3620(B)
[vi] A.R.S. § 13-3620(C)
[vii] A.R.S. § 13-3620(D)
[viii] A.R.S. § 13-3620(H)
[ix] A.R.S. § 13-3620(I)
[x] A.R.S. § 13-3620(O)