Making and Screening Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect - Puerto Rico

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Individual Responsibility to Report

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 446

Any person who has knowledge of or suspects that a child may be a victim of abuse or neglect, or is at risk of becoming a victim, must report to the hotline of the Department of the Family, the police, or the local office of the department.

Every processor of film or photographs who has knowledge of or observes any motion picture, photograph, videotape, negatives, or slides that depict a minor involved in a sexual activity must make a report.

Mandated reporters must complete a form furnished by the department within 48 hours after the oral report. The written report shall be sent to the central register.

Content of Reports

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 446

Reports shall contain, but not be limited to, all information that confirms the abuse.

Every motion picture, photograph, videotape, negative, or slide that shows a minor involved in a sexual activity shall be delivered to the nearest police station.

Reporting Suspicious Deaths

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 446

Mandated reporters who have knowledge of or suspect that a minor has died as a result of abuse or neglect shall report that fact to the police or the hotline of the department.

Reporting Substance-Exposed Infants

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Agency Receiving the Reports

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 444d

The department shall operate a special toll-free communications system attached to the Commonwealth Center for the Protection of Minors to be known as the 'Hotline For Situations of Abuse, Institutional Abuse, Neglect, and Institutional Neglect,' whereby any person shall be able to report situations of abuse, institutional abuse, neglect, and institutional neglect against minors, at any time of the day or night, any day of the week.

Initial Screening Decisions

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 444

The term 'diversion' shall mean a program to reeducate or retrain first-time offenders convicted of the crime of abuse, institutional abuse, neglect, and/or institutional neglect.

The term 'social protective services' shall mean the specialized services for achieving the safety and well-being of minors, and for preventing the risk of suffering abuse, institutional abuse, neglect, or institutional neglect. It also shall mean the services provided to parents or to other persons responsible for minors to encourage modification of their child-rearing patterns.

Agency Conducting the Assessment/Investigation

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 444a

The department shall be responsible for investigating and attending to situations of abuse, institutional abuse, neglect, and/or institutional neglect. Likewise, it shall be responsible for instituting programs for the prevention, identification, investigation, and provision of the necessary services, pursuant to the public policy established in this chapter, and the needs of minors and their families in any situation of abuse, institutional abuse, neglect, and/or institutional neglect.

Assessment/Investigation Procedures

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 444a

The department shall investigate, order, or refer for investigation referrals of abuse, institutional abuse, neglect, and/or institutional neglect, making use, for this purpose, of all procedures, services, and means required to guarantee the most expeditious and effective attention to such investigations.

Timeframes for Completing Investigations

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 444d

All referrals of abuse, institutional abuse, neglect, and institutional neglect shall be investigated at any time of the day or night, any day of the week.

Classification of Reports

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 444d

Reports may be classified as follows:

  • Protection cases: Refers to situations of abuse, institutional abuse, neglect, and/or institutional neglect of minors, as these terms are defined in this section, and supported by an investigation
  • Unsubstantiated report: Refers to information offered pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, which when investigated, is found to be lacking in grounds to support the allegations of abuse or neglect or is determined to be false