Nebraska Statutes on Abuse, Abuse indicators, and Interview Suggestions
Laws are continually changing and these are not claimed to be up to date or accurate. For current and accurate laws check the Nebraska Legislature Web Site.
Check online 28-707. Child abuse; privileges not available; penalties.
(1) A person commits child abuse if he or she knowingly, intentionally, or negligently causes or permits a minor child to be: (a) Placed in a situation that endangers his or her life or health; or (b) Cruelly confined or cruelly punished; or (c) Deprived of necessary food, clothing, shelter, or care. (2) The statutory privilege between patient and physician, between client and professional counselor, and between husband and wife shall not be available for excluding or refusing testimony in any prosecution for a violation of this section. (3) Child abuse is a Class I misdemeanor if the offense is committed negligently, (4) Child abuse is a Class IV felony if the offense is committed knowingly and intentionally and does not result in serious bodily injury as defined in section 28-109. (5) Child abuse is a Class III felony if the offense is committed knowingly and intentionally and results in serious bodily injury as defined in such section. (6) Child abuse is a Class IB felony if the offense is committed knowingly and intentionally and results in the death of such child.
28-710. Terms, defined. As used in sections 28-710 to 28-727, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) Department shall mean the Department of Social Services;
(2) Law enforcement agency shall mean the police department or town marshal in incorporated municipalities and the office of the sheriff in unincorporated areas; and
(3) Abuse or neglect shall mean knowingly, intentionally, or negligently causing or permitting a minor child or an incompetent or disabled person to be: (a) Placed in a situation that endangers his or her life or physical or mental health; (b) cruelly confined or cruelly punished; (c) deprived of necessary food, clothing, shelter, or care; (d) left unattended in a motor vehicle, if such minor child is six years of age or younger; (e) sexually abused; or (f) sexually exploited by allowing, encouraging, or forcing such person to solicit for or engage in prostitution, debauchery, public indecency, or obscene or pornographic photography, films, or depictions.
Source: Laws 1977, LB 38 & 149; Laws 1979, LB 505 & 1; Laws 1982, LB 522 & 3; Laws 1985, LB 447 &10.
28-711. Child subjected to abuse or neglect; report; contents; toll-free number.
(1) When any physician, any medical institution, any nurse, any school employee, any social worker, the Inspector General appointed under section 43-4317, or any other person has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to child abuse or neglect or observes such child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which reasonably would result in child abuse or neglect, he or she shall report such incident or cause a report of child abuse or neglect to be made to the proper law enforcement agency or to the department on the toll-free number established by subsection (2) of this section. Such report may be made orally by telephone with the caller giving his or her name and address, shall be followed by a written report, and to the extent available shall contain the address and age of the abused or neglected child, the address of the person or persons having custody of the abused or neglected child, the nature and extent of the child abuse or neglect or the conditions and circumstances which would reasonably result in such child abuse or neglect, any evidence of previous child abuse or neglect including the nature and extent, and any other information which in the opinion of the person may be helpful in establishing the cause of such child abuse or neglect and the identity of the perpetrator or perpetrators. Law enforcement agencies receiving any reports of child abuse or neglect under this subsection shall notify the department pursuant to section 28-718 on the next working day by telephone or mail.
(2) The department shall establish a statewide toll-free number to be used by any person any hour of the day or night, any day of the week, to make reports of child abuse or neglect. Reports of child abuse or neglect not previously made to or by a law enforcement agency shall be made immediately to such agency by the department.
Source: Laws 1977, LB 38, § 150;
Laws 1979, LB 505, § 2;
Laws 1982, LB 522, § 4;
Laws 1988, LB 463, § 43;
Laws 2002, LB 1105, § 432;
Laws 2005, LB 116, § 2;
Laws 2012, LB821, § 39.
Effective Date: April 12, 2012
28-712. Report concerning abuse or neglect; law enforcement agency; investigation; legal proceedings; notify department. Upon the receipt of a report concerning abuse or neglect as required by section
28-711, it shall be the duty of the law enforcement agency to make a determination as to whether or not an investigation should be made and if an investigation is deemed warranted because of alleged violations of sections 28-707 and 28-708 to cause an investigation of the alleged abuse or neglect to be made, to take immediate steps to protect the abused or neglected person, and to institute legal proceedings if appropriate. The law enforcement agency shall notify the department if an investigation is undertaken. Such notification shall be made on the next business day following receipt of the report.
Source: Laws 1977, LB 38 &151; Laws 1979, LB 505 &3.
28-713. Reports of abuse or neglect; law enforcement agency; department; duties.
(1) Upon the receipt of a call reporting abuse and neglect as required by section 28-711, it shall be the duty of the law enforcement agency to investigate the report, to take immediate steps to protect the child, and to institute legal proceedings if appropriate. The law enforcement agency may request assistance from the department during the investigation and shall, by the next working day, notify either the hotline or the appropriate child protective services unit of the department of receipt of the report, including whether or not an investigation is being undertaken by the law enforcement agency. A copy of all reports, whether or not an investigation is being undertaken, shall be provided to the department..
(2) The department shall investigate for the purpose of assessing each report to determine the risk of harm to the child involved. The department shall also provide social services as are necessary and appropriate under the circumstances to protect and assist the child and to preserve the family.|
(3) The department may make a request for further assistance from the appropriate law enforcement agency or take such legal action as may be appropriate under the circumstances.
(4) The department shall, by the next working day after receiving a report under subsection (1) of this section, make a written report or a summary on forms provided by the department to the proper law enforcement agency in the county and enter in the central registry all reports opened for investigation of abuse or neglect and any action taken.
(5) The department shall, upon request, make available to the appropriate investigating law enforcement agency and the county attorney a copy of all reports relative to a case of suspected abuse or neglect.
Source: Laws 1977, LB 38, & 152; Laws 1979, LB 505, & 4; Laws 1982, LB 522, &5, 1993
28-714. Privileged communication; patient and physician; husband and wife; not grounds for excluding evidence. The privileged communication between patient and physician, between client and professional counselor, and between husband and wife, shall not be a ground for excluding evidence in any judicial proceeding resulting from a report pursuant to sections 28-710 to 28-717.
Source: Laws 1977, LB 38, & 153, 1993.
28-715. Abused or Neglected Child Registry; department; duties. The department shall file each report of suspected abuse or neglect in a special state Abused or Neglected Child Registry to be maintained in the department.
Source: Laws 1977, LB 38, & 154; Laws 1979, LB 505, &5, 1993.
28-716. Person participating in an investigation or making report; immune from liability; civil or criminal. Any person participating in an investigation or the making of a report pursuant to the provisions of sections 28-710 to 28-717 or participating in a judicial proceeding resulting therefrom shall be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, that might other wise be incurred or imposed, except for maliciously false statements.
Source: Laws 1977, LB 38, & 155, 1993
28-717. Violations; penalty. Any person who willfully fails to make any report required by the provisions of sections 28-710 to 28-717 , or knowingly releases confidential information other than as provided by sections 28-710 to 28-717, shall be guilty of a Class III misdemeanor.
Source: Laws 1977, LB 38, &156, 1993.
28-718. Child protections cases; central register. There shall be a central register of child protection cases maintained in the department.
Source: Laws 1979, LB 505, &6.
Physical and Behavioral Indicators of Physical and Emotional Abuse and Neglect
Unexplained Bruises and Welts:
- on face, lips, mouth
- on torso, back, buttocks, thighs
- in various stages of healing
- clustered, forming regular patterns
- reflecting shape of article used to inflict (electric cord, belt buckle)
- on several different surface areas
- regularly appear after absence, weekend or vacation
- cigar, cigarette burns, especially on soles, palms, back or buttocks
- immersion burns (sock-like, glove-like, doughnut shaped on buttocks or genitalia)
- patterned like electric burner, iron, etc.
- rope burns on arms, legs, neck or torso
- to skull, nose, facial structure
- in various stages of healing
- multiple or spiral fractures
Unexplained Lacerations or Abrasions:
- to mouth, lips, gums, eyes
- to external genitalia
- Wary of Adult Contacts
- Apprehensive When Other Children Cry
- Behavioral Extremes: aggressiveness or withdrawal
- Frightened of Parents
- Afraid to go Home
- Reports Injury by Parents
- Consistent Hunger
- Poor Hygiene
- Inappropriate Dress
- Consistent Lack of Supervision, Especially in Dangerous Activities or for Long Periods
- Unattended Physical Problems or Medical Needs
- Begging, Stealing Food
- Extended Stays at School (early arrival and late departure)
- Constant Fatigue, Listlessness or Falling Asleep in Class
- Alcohol or Drug-Abuse
- Delinquency (e.g. thefts)
- States There is No Caretaker
- Difficulty in Walking or Sitting
- Torn, Stained or Bloody Underclothing
- Pain or Itching in Genital Area
- Bruises or Bleeding in External Genitalia, Vaginal or Anal Areas
- Venereal Disease, Especially in Pre-teens
- Unwilling to Change for Gym or Participate in Physical Education Class
- Withdrawal, Fantasy or Infantile Behavior
- Bizarre, Sophisticated, or Unusual Sexual Behavior or Knowledge
- Poor Peer Relationships
- Delinquent or Run Away
- Reports Sexual Assault by Caretaker
- Speech Disorders
- Lags in Physical Development
- Habit Disorders (sucking, biting, rocking, etc.)
- Conduct Disorders (antisocial, destructive, etc.)
- Neurotic Traits (sleep disorders, inhibition of play)
- Psycho neurotic Reactions (hysteria, obsession, compulsion, phobias, hypochondria)
- Behavior Extremes:
- compliant, passive
- aggressive, demanding Overly Adaptive Behavior:
- inappropriately adult
- inappropriately infant
- Developmental Lags (mental, emotional)
- Attempted Suicide
Some Suggested DO's and DON'T's of Interviewing
When Talking with the Child
- Make sure the interviewer is someone the child trusts
- Conduct the interview in private
- Sit next to the child, not across a table or desk
- Tell the child that the interview is confidential
- Conduct the interview in language the child understands
- Ask the child to clarify words/terms which are not understood
- Tell the child if any future action will be required
- Allow the child to feel "in trouble" or "at fault"
- Disparage or criticize the childs choice of words or language
- Suggest answers to the child
- Probe or press for answers the child is unwilling to give
- Display horror, shock, or disapproval of parents, child, or the situation
- Force the child to remove clothing
- Conduct the interview with a group of interviewers
- Leave the child alone with a stranger (e.g., a CPS worker)
When Talking With the Parents
- Select interviewer(s) appropriate to the situation
- Conduct the interview in private
- Tell the parent(s) why the interview is taking place
- Be direct, honest and professional
- Tell the parent(s) the interview is confidential
- Reassure the parents of the support of the school
- Tell the parents if a report has been made or will be made
- Advise the parent(s) of the schools legal responsibilities to report
- Try to "prove" abuse or neglect by accusations or demands
- Display horror, anger, or disapproval of parent(s), child, or situation
- Pry into family matters unrelated to the specific situation
- Place blame or make judgments about the parent(s) or child