Clergy as Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect - Vermont

Date: May 2023

The Requirement for Clergy to Report 

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, §§ 4913; 4912(12)

Any member of the clergy who has reasonable cause to believe that any child has been abused or neglected shall report or cause a report to be made in accordance with the reporting laws. 

The term 'member of the clergy' means a priest; rabbi; clergy member; ordained or licensed minister; leader of any church or religious body; accredited Christian Science practitioner; or a person performing official duties on behalf of a church or religious body that are recognized as the duties of a priest, rabbi, clergy, nun, brother, ordained or licensed minister, leader of any church or religious body, or accredited Christian Science practitioner.

Privileged Communications

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 4913

A member of the clergy shall not be required to make a report under this section if the report would be based upon information revealed in a communication that is as follows: 

  • Made to a member of the clergy acting in their capacity as spiritual advisor
  • Intended by the parties to be confidential at the time the communication is made
  • Intended by the communicant to be an act of contrition or a matter of conscience 
  • Required to be confidential by religious law, doctrine, or tenet

When a member of the clergy receives information about abuse or neglect of a child in a manner other than as described, they are required to report based on that information, even though they may have also received a report of abuse or neglect about the same person or incident as part of a confidential communication.