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Mandatory Reporting

In Kentucky, the law requires mandatory reporting of spouse abuse, child abuse, and abuse of those adults unable to protect themselves, such as the elderly or perhaps a person with a disability. Any person having reason to believe a married person of any age has been abused or neglected by their spouse must report it to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The Cabinet, in turn, is required to notify the appropriate law enforcement agency. Therefore, disclosure of spouse abuse will result in notification to law enforcement and may result in an investigation, arrest and prosecution of the abuser. Victims should be aware of this simply because they may not wish to set those wheels in motion, for they may have no control whatsoever about what ultimately is done by the various systems.

There is no law requiring reporting of intimate partner abuse absent the partners being married. However it is currently the procedure of the cabinet to accept any such reports and offer services to victims without regard to marital status. Whether or not such reports are then forwarded to law enforcement is not predictable and may vary from county to county.

Any person who has reason to believe a child has been neglected or abused, or is dependent, must report this to the Cabinet, the state or local police, or the local prosecutor’s office. http://www.lrc.ky.gov/KRS/620-00/030.PDF

Therefore, disclosure of abuse, neglect or dependency will result in a report being made and an investigation being pursued. In Kentucky, as in many other states, there has been a somewhat alarming trend to hold victims accountable for “exposing” their children to the domestic violence being perpetrated upon the victim by the abuser. These co-occurring cases of domestic violence and child “abuse” or “neglect” have resulted in children being removed from the victim’s custody under a “failure to protect” theory. Currently, the cabinet is working to have in place in the field trained specialists who will work these adult protective and child protective services cases jointly, to put the focus back on the offending parent and stop placing all the responsibility for the children’s safety on the shoulders of the victim, who isn’t endangering the children in the first place.

There has been growing concern on the past few years at the high incidence of elder abuse and abuse of those who have a disability. KRS 209, http://www.lrc.ky.gov/KRS/209-00/CHAPTER.HTM was enacted to provide a safety net for such vulnerable adults. It is anticipated that there will be more and more disclosure of such instances of abuse as public awareness of the problem increases. Many such victims clearly fall within the Kentucky domestic violence laws as the victim and abuser often are related. http://www.preventelderabuse.org/

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