Can a mandatory report who fails to report known or suspected child abuse be sued and held liable for failure to make the required report?
Yes. A person who is required but fails to make a required report is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or up to a $1,000.00 fine, or both. (P.C. 11166(b)) The person may also be sued and found civilly liable for damages, especially if the child victim or another child is further victimized because of the failure to report. See Landeros v Flood (1976).
According to the Department of Social Services Office of Child Abuse Prevention, any person who starts a job which makes him or her a required reporter must sign a statement, provided by the employer, to the effect that he or she has knowledge of the reporting law and will comply with its provisions (P.C. 11166.5(a) Commercial film and photographic print processors and persons employed by child protective agencies as members of the support staff or maintenance staff and who do not work with, observe, or have knowledge of children as part of their official duties are not required to sign such statements. (P.C. 11166.5(a))