2021 Tennessee Code
Title 37 - Juveniles
Chapter 1 - Juvenile Courts and Proceedings
Part 6 - Child Sexual Abuse
§ 37-1-605. Reports of Known or Suspected Child Sexual Abuse — Investigations — Notification to Parents of Abuse on School Grounds or While Under School Supervision — Confidentiality of Records
- Any person including, but not limited to, any:
- Physician, osteopathic physician, medical examiner, chiropractor, nurse or hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care or treatment of persons;
- Health or mental health professional other than one listed in subdivision (1);
- Practitioner who relies solely on spiritual means for healing;
- School teacher or other school official or personnel;
- Judge of any court of the state;
- Social worker, day care center worker, or other professional child care, foster care, residential or institutional worker;
- Law enforcement officer;
- Authority figure at a community facility, including any facility used for recreation or social assemblies, for educational, religious, social, health, or welfare purposes, including, but not limited to, facilities operated by schools, the boy or girl scouts, the YMCA or YWCA, the boys and girls club, or church or religious organizations; or
- Neighbor, relative, friend or any other person;
who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been sexually abused shall report such knowledge or suspicion to the department in the manner prescribed in subsection (b).
- Each report of known or suspected child sexual abuse pursuant to this section shall be made immediately to the local office of the department responsible for the investigation of reports made pursuant to this section or to the judge having juvenile jurisdiction or to the office of the sheriff or the chief law enforcement official of the municipality where the child resides. Each report of known or suspected child sexual abuse occurring in a facility licensed by the department of mental health and substance abuse services, as defined in § 33-2-403, or any hospital, shall also be made to the local law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where such offense occurred. In addition to those procedures provided by this part, § 37-1-405 shall also apply to all cases reported hereunder.
- If a law enforcement official or judge becomes aware of known or suspected child sexual abuse, through personal knowledge, receipt of a report or otherwise, such information shall be reported to the department immediately and the child protective team shall be notified to investigate the report for the protection of the child in accordance with this part. Further criminal investigation by such official shall be appropriately conducted.
- Reports involving known or suspected institutional child sexual abuse shall be made and received in the same manner as all other reports made pursuant to this section.
- Any person required to report or investigate cases of suspected child sexual abuse who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child died as a result of child sexual abuse shall report such suspicion to the appropriate medical examiner. The medical examiner shall accept the report for investigation and shall report the medical examiner's findings, in writing, to the local law enforcement agency, the appropriate district attorney general, and the department. Autopsy reports maintained by the medical examiner shall not be subject to the confidentiality requirements provided for in § 37-1-612.
- Notwithstanding § 37-5-107 or § 37-1-612, if a school teacher, school official, or other school personnel has knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect that a child who attends the school may be a victim of child abuse or child sexual abuse sufficient to require reporting pursuant to this section, then the school teacher, school official, or other school personnel must follow the procedures outlined in § 49-6-1601.
- For purposes of this subsection (d), “school” means any public or privately operated child care agency, as defined in § 71-3-501; child care program, as defined in § 49-1-1102; preschool; nursery school; kindergarten; elementary school; or secondary school.
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