Saturday, October 5, 2013

Can I sue a former therapist if he failed to report suspected child abuse 7 years ago.

Q: My son made comments that indicated his father was touching him in appropriately. I was scared to report the incident because I thought his family would come after me, lie to child protective services, etc... Because I was scared, my therapist never reported the incident. A new therapist that I have recently started seeing mentioned that he was "legally required" to report the abuse. In retrospect I realize it would have been better to have reported this so that I could have learned the truth and protected my son.

A: The way you phrased your posting, it appears the therapist was yours & not the child's. Assuming that's the case, then the therapist would not technically be mandated (in my opinion) to have called in a report unless s/he spoke to the child. On the other hand, if YOU suspected abuse (based on your child's statements to you), it is just as possible you may have committed child abuse or neglect by failing to report the allegations yourself (or at least having the child evaluated if there was any doubt about the child's statements).  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

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