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

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Failure to Report

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-7-410

Any mandatory reporter or any person required to perform any other function under the reporting laws who knowingly fails to do so, or a person who threatens or attempts to intimidate a witness, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than $500 or be imprisoned for not more than 6 months, or both.

False Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63-7-430; 63-7-440

If the family court determines that a person has made a report of suspected child abuse or neglect maliciously or in bad faith, or if a person has been found guilty of making a false report pursuant to § 63-7-440, the Department of Social Services may bring a civil action to recover the costs of the department's investigation and proceedings associated with the investigation, including attorney's fees. The department also is entitled to recover costs and attorney's fees incurred in the civil action authorized by this section. The decision of whether to bring a civil action is in the sole discretion of the department.

If the family court determines that a person has made a false report of suspected child abuse or neglect maliciously or in bad faith or if a person has been found guilty of making a false report, a person who was subject of the false report has a civil cause of action against the person who made the false report and is entitled to recover from the person who made the false report such relief as may be appropriate, including actual damages, punitive damages, a reasonable attorney's fee, and other litigation costs reasonably incurred.

It is unlawful to knowingly make a false report of abuse or neglect. A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned for not more than 90 days, or both.