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Posted By Rebecca Parkey on 03/31/2021

Horrific and Mortifying Nevada Child Abuse Loophole

Horrific and Mortifying Nevada Child Abuse Loophole

I am writing because I have been reeling since yesterday.  I have only been in Nevada since May, and I have worked in 4 States total, and this is the only state that has this law that I have worked in, so I am going to explain it as best I can.

Since beginning my private practice I have mostly been working with adults.  However as of the last couple months I have begun working with teens because there is such a need due to the heightened need because of anxiety and depression with COVID related mental health issues.  I recently had to make a mandated sexual assault report.  Upon calling the child abuse hotline I did not get very far into the call and I was politely stopped and told that because it was not a parent or caregiver who assaulted the child that this did not constitute abuse.  I was not able to get very far into what happened, but I was horrified.  I could have fallen out of my chair.  I told her that she was going to have to explain that to me because I am not from Nevada and this has never happened to me before. She stated that only a parent, caregiver, or someone who is “providing supervision of some kind” to the child can constitute abuse of any kind under the hotlines standards.  We could make a police report, which she encouraged me to do, but this did not fall under their jurisdiction.

 There is so much wrong with this scenario and I feel the need to walk you through this step by step:

  1. ALL mandated reporters, anyone who works with children, teachers, school counselors, coaches, pastors, therapists, the list goes on for miles…are required to call the child abuse hotline for their state when an abuse (any type of abuse) occurs.  In fact, it is the law.  However, once they have done that, their requirement, as well as their obligation and protection ends.  Therefore, once they have done that, they are done.  They then have to get permission from the client to contact law enforcement because that is a totally different ball game.  Therefore, if this is the case and the client or parent says no, it DIES ON THE VINE!  There is no protection for these children.  For SEXUAL, PHYSICAL, and EMOTIONAL abuse.
  2. What they are saying is that if a sibling is sexually abusing their sibling, if it is a family friend, another child who is older (could be many years older) etc. If there is physical abuse of the same kind as described previously, there is NO RECOURSE.
  3. Another very important aspect that is not being addressed, is one of the most important jobs of child and family services is to provide RESOURCES and SERVICES.  If something like this happens, they are given, and sometimes required to go to therapy.  Their parents are mandated to get their children help.  Sometimes they have in-home family therapy.  I personally was an in-home family therapist in Kansas for families who had some of these reports happen.  
  4. For this to be a state law absolutely baffles me.  I am so appalled.

 My husband was a police officer in Missouri for 17 years and I went home and told him about this law and he was floored.  Again, I have worked in Missouri, Kansas, and Alaska and this is not the case in any of those states.  I feel that this HAS TO CHANGE.  Children HAVE TO BE falling through the cracks.  HORRIFIC ABUSE has to be falling through the cracks because of this law! Honestly I CANNOT BELIEVE that this has not been addressed.

 I am ready to make this my personal mission.  Who is with me.  I'm contacting senators, congressman, and news stations who will listen.  If you are in Nevada, join me. If you agree with me, please help.

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