LIMITS HELP US HELP OTHERS—Mandated Reporting by the HelpLine by Daria Todor ACSW LCSW-C MAC
Just a reminder that when you call the HelpLine, your information is kept as confidential as possible as dictated by law. During most calls—the vast majority—you can rest assure that no one is going to know your personal issues unless you give permission for it to be shared.
But in very rare instance, the law requires the information be shared, reported. Please note: It does not matter whether you do not think it is a reportable offense. The decision about reporting is made by the professional receiving the information. If the professional, with their best judgment, training and experience, hears a report that something is going on/has gone on of a sexual, physical and/or emotionally abusive or neglectful manner, then the report may be made. You may have been calling to get one type of help but end up being told that the first order of business is to further assess for safety and wellbeing of a dependent. In most cases, parents see the wisdom of making such reports even if it means that they might be investigated. If nothing occurs, then the case is set aside, and families get other help they may need.
In most of my career of helping thousands of individuals, this type of reporting is rare. It is upsetting to have to make a report because I know that it is very stressful for all involved. But I do it because it is the right thing to do, and it is a form of setting limits against abuse.
So, please do not let this scare you off from reaching out. Again, it is a rare occurrence. It may not seem helpful to have a report made to Child or Adult Protective Services or the Police. But in our society, children and vulnerable adults are in need protection, even if the report turns out to be nothing.