Immunity for Persons Who Report Child Abuse and Neglect - Tennessee

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Immunity for Making Reports

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 37-1-410; 37-1-613

A health-care provider who makes a report of harm that arises from an examination of the child performed in the course of rendering professional care or treatment of the child or a health-care provider who is highly qualified by experience in the field of child abuse and neglect renders a second opinion at the request of the Department of Children's Services or any law enforcement agency shall not be liable in any civil or criminal action that is based solely upon any of the following:

  • The provider's decision to report what they believed to be harm
  • The provider's belief that reporting the harm was required by law
  • The fact that a report of harm was made
  • The fact that a second opinion was requested and provided

A person, acting in good faith, who makes a report of harm shall not be liable in any civil or criminal action that is based solely upon any of the following:

  • The person's decision to report what the person believed to be harm
  • The person's belief that reporting the harm was required by law
  • The fact that a report of harm was made

Because of the overriding public policy to encourage all persons to report the neglect of or harm or abuse to children, any person upon whom good faith immunity is conferred shall be presumed to have acted in good faith in making a report of harm.

Any person making a report of child sexual abuse shall be afforded the same immunity and shall have the same remedies as provided by § 37-1-410 for other persons reporting harm to a child. Any other person, official, or institution participating in good faith in any act authorized or required by this part shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability that might otherwise result by reason of such action.

Additional Provisions of Immunity

Citation: Ann. Code § 37-1-410

A person furnishing a report, information, or records as required, requested, or authorized under this part shall have the same immunity and the same scope of immunity with respect to testimony such person may be required to give or may give in any judicial or administrative proceeding or in any communications with the department or any law enforcement official as is otherwise conferred by this section upon the person for making the report of harm.

If the person furnishing a report, information, or records during the normal course of the person's duties is different from the person originally making a report, then the person furnishing the report, information, or records shall have the same immunity and the same scope of immunity with respect to testimony the person may be required to give or may give in any judicial or administrative proceeding or in any communications with the department or any law enforcement official as is otherwise conferred by this section upon the person who made the original report of harm.

Limitations to Immunity

Citation: Ann. Code § 37-1-410

Nothing in this section shall be construed to confer any immunity upon a health-care provider for a criminal or civil action arising out of the treatment of the child about whom the report of harm was made.

No immunity conferred pursuant to this section shall attach if the person reporting the harm perpetrated or inflicted the abuse or caused the neglect.