Penalties for Failure to Report and False Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect - Massachusetts

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Failure to Report

Citation: Gen. Laws Ch. 119, § 51A

Any mandatory reporter who fails to report shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.

Any mandated reporter who has knowledge of child abuse or neglect that resulted in serious bodily injury to or death of a child and willfully fails to report the abuse or neglect shall be punished by a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for no more than 2 1/2 years or by both, and, upon a guilty finding or a continuance without a finding, the court shall notify any appropriate professional licensing authority of the mandated reporter's violation of this paragraph.

False Reporting

Citation: Gen. Laws Ch. 119, § 51A

Whoever knowingly and willfully files a frivolous report of child abuse or neglect under this section shall be punished as follows:

  • A fine of no more than $2,000 for the first offense
  • Imprisonment for no more than 6 months and a fine of no more than $2,000 for the second offense
  • Imprisonment for no more than 2 1/2 years and a fine of no more than $2,000 for the third and subsequent offenses