General Guidelines for Faculty/Staff in Dealing with Child Abuse/Neglect, Victims of Violence, Harassment, etc.

Op7.09 General Guidelines for Faculty/Staff in Dealing with Child Abuse/Neglect, Victims of Violence, Harassment, etc.

One of the University's overarching goals is to promote a positive learning environment, primarily for academic purposes. It is, however, generally accepted that we cannot fully separate how students learn from how they live. In such instances where a student brings personal issues to the attention of a University faculty/staff member, here is some information and suggested guidelines to help.

Some professions are "mandated" reporters with regard to child abuse/neglect of minors (persons under 18 years of age). Examples are school teachers, principals, doctors, social workers, nurses, day care workers or those who have "care and custody" of minor children. There are several programs within the purview at the University where mandated reporting would apply (Greenwood, Infant/Toddler Lab, Communication and Science Disorders Clinic, etc.). Gray areas emerge when non-mandated persons/professions or those who are mandated by profession but may not have "care and custody" become aware of information/situations whereby a minor child may be abused and/or neglected. An example of these gray areas might be students placed in service-learning or clinical sites.

Anyone can make an anonymous hotline report by calling 1-800-392-3738. One has to do so, however, in good faith. It may or may not be investigated given the information provided and information that may already be in the hands of the Children's Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services. The Missouri Department of Health indicates that child sexual abuse and physical abuse is one of the most underreported of all crimes. The law (Missouri Revised Statutes 210.109-210.166) errs on the side of reporting vs. not reporting. There is immunity for those who are reporting in good faith and without ill intent. Here is the information you will need if you report:

  • The name of the child
  • The name of the parent(s)
  • The name of the alleged abuser
  • Where the child can be located

You will also be asked:

  • Is the child in a life-threatening situation now?
  • How do you know about the abuse/neglect?
  • Did you witness the abuse/neglect?
  • Were there other witnesses and how can they be contacted?

If you are not sure it is abuse or neglect, you can call the local Children's Division office (telephone number below) to discuss your concerns. They can advise you whether or not to call the hotline. They can also give you advice that might help you help the family in crisis.

You are encouraged to consult with your department head/immediate supervisor and/or other persons on campus who have additional expertise in this area (see list below) in order to develop a course of action that may include no action taken.

You will not be making a determination regarding the outcome if you choose to report. The Children's Division decides whether or not there is enough information to investigate. Hotline calls where there is an identified reporter hold more weight than an anonymous call.

Pay close attention to how this information comes to you. Use probing skills for further clarification. For example, if a student tells you that they are concerned that their child "might" be abused/neglected, that probably is not sufficient enough information to report.

If a student 18 years of age or older reports to you that she or he has been assaulted, raped, victimized, harassed, etc., refer to University policies. Inquiries regarding the University grievance procedures, Affirmative Action Plan or compliance with federal and state laws and guidelines should be addressed to the Title IX Coordinator, Carrington 314, 901 South National Avenue, Springfield, Missouri 65897, 417-836-8506.

Some other referral sources on campus and within the community:

Referral sources
Referral Source Telephone Number
Counseling Center (consultation and referrals) 417-836-5116
Dean of Students (consultation and referrals) 417-836-5527
Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline 1-800-392-3738
Greene County Children's Division 417-895-6000
Elderly Abuse Hotline 1-800-392-0210
Springfield Police Department Campus Substation 417-836-5327
Parental Stress Helpline 1-800-367-2543
Family Violence Center Abused Women's Hotline 417-864-7233
Child Advocacy Center (referral source for children who have been sexually abused) 417-831-2327
Missouri Victim Center (for sexual assault counseling and referral) 417-863-7273
Safety and Transportation 417-836-5509

Prior versions approved March 21, 2003 by Board of Governors.