A fundamental duty of government is to protect its most vulnerable population - children, the elderly, and those with physical and mental disabilities. While anyone can and should report suspected abuse, Massachusetts requires certain professionals to report suspected abuse to the appropriate protective service agency. Those agencies conduct their threshold investigations and in turn must refer the most serious cases to the local District Attorney.
In the case of children, Massachusetts law requires doctors, nurses, hospital staff, social and mental heath professionals, teachers, police, firefighters, clergy and others to file a report with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) whenever they have reasonable cause to believe that a child under the age of 18 is being abused or neglected. DCF provides specific instructions on how to file these reports. DCF will conduct an investigation of the report and must refer the most serious of these cases to the District Attorney.
The District Attorneys urge Massachusetts citizens to always give the benefit of the doubt to the child's safety. When in doubt, REPORT!