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Montana Child Abuse Laws

In Montana, child abuse or neglect includes physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of minors (as well as exploitation) and is taken seriously by the Montana justice system.

Montana Mandatory Reporting Requirements

Adults with regular access to or communication with children who have reason to believe a child has been abused are required to report it to the authorities. Mandatory reporters in Montana include teachers, police officers, and child care workers.

How to Report

You may report, by phone, any suspected child abuse case to the local Family Services
Office. You must include:

  1. The names and addresses of the child and his or her parents or other persons
    responsible for his or her care;
  2. To the extent known, the child’s age, the nature and extent of the child’s injuries, including any evidence of previous injuries;
  3. Any other information you believe might be helpful in establishing the cause of the injuries or showing the willful neglect and the identity of the person or persons responsible;
  4. The facts which led the person reporting to believe that the child has suffered
    injury or injuries or willful neglect.

How Soon After I Suspected Child Abuse Must I Report It ?

Reports must be made immediately after first suspicion of abuse.

The following chart lists the main provisions of Montana child abuse laws, including mandatory reporters and sentencing. See Child Abuse Background and History to learn more.

Code Section 41-3-102, 41-3-201, et seq.
What Constitutes Child Abuse Harm or substantial risk of harm to child's health and welfare; or abandonment including acts or omissions of person responsible for child's welfare. Does not include self-defense, defense of others, or action taken to prevent self-harm of child.
Mandatory Reporting Requirement Physician, member of hospital staff, coroner, mental health professional, dentist, Christian Science practitioner, religious healers, school teachers and officials, social workers, day care/child care workers, foster care worker, clergy (unless privileged communication), law enforcement officer, guardian ad litem or court appointed advocate.
Basis of Report of Abuse/Neglect Know or have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused or neglected
Where to Report Suspected Abuse Department of Public Health and Human Services or its local affiliate
Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting Guilty of misdemeanor and civilly liable for proximately caused damages

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Montana criminal attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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