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In many jurisdictions there are certain people called mandatory reporters. These are people such as educators, foster parents, medical professionals, social workers, police officers, etc. who by virtue of their training and positions of authority over other people's children are required by law to report suspected child abuse, or risk prosecution themselves. Many of those same mandatory reporters will be attracted to this site.

I would hope no one would be stupid enough to post evidence of abuse on a public forum, but I met some pretty dumb parents when I was a foster parent, especially when they are under the influence, so it wouldn't surprise me if it comes up eventually. Do we have a specific process for making these sorts of reports that have fallen out of the realm of normal moderator duties and into legal issues? This is especially tricky with an international membership as to what jurisdiction should be informed, etc. Should this be addressed in the FAQ, or is it just so extremely rare as to be handled on a case by case basis should it ever come up?

  • I would hope no one would be stupid enough to post evidence of abuse on a public forum -- I hope every child abuser is exactly that dumb, so as to help with being caught. – Matthew Read Dec 6 '12 at 18:17
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I think we should wait, and only address it when/if it ever happens.

It should not go into the FAQ, as this will hopefully never be frequently asked.

Every question and answer can be flagged by any user, plus the moderators are pretty good at reading new contributions, so if something decidedly criminal is mentioned, I think it will certainly be noticed and flagged for the moderators to act on it -- and that is the time to discuss it.

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This really isn't a FAQ-able issue. Legal recourse (should some legal issue come up) isn't something you cover in a few bullet points.

Our Terms of Service covers some legal responsibilities, but this is something that would just have to be handled in the most appropriate manner, based on the action itself.

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