Can I report suspected abuse - even if I am not a mandatory reporter? And, if I can, what protections or safeguards are there for people who report known or suspected child abuse in California?

Yes, you can. But The Keane Law Firm does not accept those reports. First, go immediately to the Resources section of this website, and hit the link for California. It will take you to the homepage for the Department of Social Services. On that page you will find a link to Child Protective Services Hotlines. Hit that link and you will see the emergency child abuse contact phone numbers for each county in California. Call the number in your county. If you need help, call 1-800-422-4453, a national child abuse hotline called ChildHelp. According to the Department of Social Services Office of Child Abuse Prevention, persons who are legally required to report suspected child abuse have immunity from criminal or civil liability for reporting as required or authorized by the child abuse and neglect reporting laws. (P.C. 11172(a)) Also, no supervisor or administrator may impede or inhibit a report or subject the reporting person to any sanction. (P.C. 11166(g)). Persons other than those legally mandated to report are not required to include their names when making a report. (P.C. 11167(e)). Reports are confidential and may be disclosed only to specified persons and agencies (P.C. 11167.5).
Christopher Keane
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California Child Abuse and Child Injury Lawyer