Is the Identity of Someone Reporting Child Abuse in South Carolina Confidential?

police responding to child abuse

The identity of the person making a report of  suspected child abuse or neglect to any agency, such as law enforcement or DSS, must be kept confidential by the agency receiving the report and may only be disclosed in special circumstances.

These include:

   1.  When the department refers a report to a law enforcement agency for a criminal investigation, the department must inform the law enforcement agency of the identity of the person who reported the child abuse or neglect. The identity of the reporter must only be used by the law enforcement agency to further the criminal investigation arising from the report.

 2.  The agency must not disclose the reporter’s identity to any person other than an employee of the agency involved in the criminal investigation arising from the report. If the reporter testifies in a criminal proceeding arising from the report, the fact that the reporter made the report must not be revealed.

3.  When a law enforcement agency refers a report to the department for an investigation or other response, the law enforcement agency must inform the department of the identity of the person who reported the child abuse or neglect. The department must not disclose the identity of the reporter to any person except as authorized by South Carolina Code § 63-7-1990.

         South Carolina Code § 63-7-1990 provides that, “All reports made and information collected pursuant to this article maintained by the Department of Social Services and the Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect are confidential. A person who disseminates or permits the dissemination of these records and the information contained in these records except as authorized in this section, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one thousand five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”  In other words, it is a crime to reveal the name of the reporter.

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Written by

Graves H. Wilson, Jr. worked as a staff attorney for the South Carolina Department of Social Services in Dorchester County, South Carolina from 2005 to 2011. He now represents clients involved in DSS cases--parents, grandparents, or other interested parties. He practices state-wide and accepts cases in all South Carolina counties.

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