This guide is designed to be used frequently for reference, whether your a volunteer or not. This guide is divided into the basic questions: why, who, what, how, when and where.

Definition of Terms:

• Child means a person from birth through 17 years. By law, all abuse to and neglect of a person defined as a child must be reported. The law excludes from this reporting requirement a fetus and a person who is currently an adult but who was abused as a child.

• Child Protective Agency (CPA) means a police department, a sheriff's department, a county welfare department, or a county probation department.

• Child Protective Agency Investigator means a person employed by a child protective agency who is responsible for inquiring into the details of a report of suspected child abuse.


• It is the law. Reports are vital in the investigation and determination of child abuse incidents.


The following types of child abuse include what you must report. The basic categories of child abuse are:

• Sexual (Includes exploitation, assault and incest)

• Physical

• Neglect

• Mental/Emotional


1. Rape (Penal Code sections 261 and 264.1)
2. Incest (Penal Code section 285)
3. Sodomy (Penal Code section 286)
4. Lewd and lascivious acts upon body of child under 14 (Penal Code section 288 (a), (b))
5. Oral copulation (Penal Code section 288a)
6. Penetration of genital or anal openings by foreign object (Penal Code section 289)
7. Child molesting (Penal Code section 647.6)
8. Certain other sexual acts (Penal Code section 11165.1 (b)) including:
    a. penetration of vagina or anus by penis.
    b. sexual contact between genitals or anus by mouth or tongue.
    c. intrusion into genitals or anus by any object.
    d. intentional touching of genitals or intimate parts to arouse or gratify.
    e. intentional masturbation of perpetrator's genitals in child's presence.

DO NOT REPORT acts of consensual sexual behavior between children under 14 who are of a similar age.


1. Sending or bringing into state for sale or distribution matter depicting sexual conduct by minors
    (Penal Code section 311.2)
2. Employment of minor to perform prohibited acts (Penal Code section 311.4(a))
3. Depicting by film, photograph, videotape, etc. sexual conduct by person under 14
    (Penal Code section 311.3)
4. Aiding, promoting, coercing, etc., a child to perform obscene sexual acts for the purpose of
    producing pictorial depiction's. Penal Code section 311.3)

PHYSICAL ABUSE means a report of physical injury which is inflicted by other than accidental means on a child by another person and includes:

1. Willful cruelty or unjustifiable punishment (Penal Code section 11165.3)
2. Unlawful corporal punishment or injury (Penal Code section 11165.4)
3. Any acts or omissions cited in Penal Code Sections 273a, 273d.


- incidents of accidental injury or injuries.
- reasonable force by public school employee to stop violent disturbance or to exercise physical control.
  (Penal Code section 11165.4, Education Code sections 44807 and 49001)
- mutual fights between minors. (Penal Code section 11165.6)

NOTE: Report any deaths resulting from physical abuse, evidence of prior physical abuse or severe neglect.

MENTAL/EMOTIONAL means the infliction of mental/emotional suffering (Penal Code section 11165.3).

NEGLECT means the negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by a person responsible for the child's welfare under circumstances indicating harm or threatened harm to the child's health or welfare and includes both acts and omissions on the part of the responsible person.

REPORT Severe Neglect means that the child's welfare has been risked or endangered or has been ignored to a point that the child has failed to thrive. (Generally, the standard is that a child has been physically harmed or that a very high probability exists that acts or omissions by responsible person would lead to physical harm.) (Penal Code section 11165.2 (a))

DO NOT REPORT General Neglect means that the person responsible for the child's welfare has failed to provide adequate care but has not physically injured the child. Examples of general neglect include lack of supervision of a child and abandonment, if there is not evidence of child abuse. (Penal Code section 11165.2(b))

DO NOT submit unfounded reports. Reasons for unfounded reports may include false reporting, improbable incidents, accidents, and events that do not constitute child abuse as defined by law.

DO NOT submit reports of fetal abuse. Fetal abuse may include adversely affecting the well-being of an unborn child and evidence of illegal drugs or alcohol in just -born infant.

DO NOT submit reports from adults stating they were victims of child abuse when they were children.

DO NOT submit reports of child stealing unless they involve child abuse.

DO NOT submit reports of general neglect.

DO NOT submit reports of acts of consensual sexual behavior between children under 14 who are of a similar age.

Just telephone: Child Protective Services (408) 299-2071

Remember: You must report by phone within 36 hours of receiving a report of suspected child abuse from a mandated reporter or from a citizen

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