AG To Clarify Childhood Abuse Reporting Law Procedures For Adult Claims

The Texas Attorney General's office has been asked to clarify whether health professionals working with adults, who say they were abused as children, must report the cases. The AG's office has to issue an opinion on the matter by late spring.

In 1995, Texas adopted a law that requires certain professionals, such as doctors, teachers, and clergy, to report suspected child abuse within 48 hours of being told about it.

For years, mental health workers have wondered if that also applies to them if their adult patients talk about being abused as children.

Last month, the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists asked the Attorney General to clarify the law.   The board says the 48-hour rule could force therapists to report abuse before they have a chance to talk to their patients about the consequences of doing so. 

The statutes of limitations vary depending on the kind of abuse.  In Texas, abandoning or endangering a child carries a five-year limit from the time the abuse happened. Injury to a child can be prosecuted until the victim's 28th birthday.   And there is no statute of limitations on sexual assault of a minor or indecency with a child.

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David Pitman

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The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...