Clergy as Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect - Wisconsin

Date: May 2023

The Requirement for Clergy to Report 

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.981

A member of the clergy shall report if the member of the clergy has reasonable cause to suspect that a child seen by the member of the clergy in the course of their professional duties has been abused or has been threatened with abuse and abuse of the child will likely occur.

The term 'member of the clergy' has the meaning given in § 765.002(1) or means a member of a religious order. The term includes brothers, ministers, monks, nuns, priests, rabbis, and sisters.

Privileged Communications

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.981

A member of the clergy is not required to report child abuse information that they receive solely through confidential communications made to them privately or in a confessional setting if they are authorized to hear or are accustomed to hearing such communications and, under the disciplines, tenets, or traditions of their religion, has a duty or is expected to keep those communications secret. Those disciplines, tenets, or traditions need not be in writing.