silive If enacted, the bill would make every adult resident of South Carolina the equivalent of New York’s mandated reporters, minus, of course, their professional expertise. Granted, some instances of child abuse are so blatant that they’d be apparent to the most benighted layperson. Conceptually, however, child abuse and neglect are imprecise terms, their incidences often susceptible to lively debate among professionals in the field.
To expect the average person to analyze every potential situation and make a reasonable judgment as to whether child abuse or neglect likely exists is unrealistic; to punish him for wrongly concluding that it doesn’t when, in fact, it actually does is unconscionable.
Making everybody a mandated reporter also invites abuse by those inclined to use the requirement as a pretext to maliciously defame others.
False accusations of child abuse, particularly child sexual abuse, have already become the nuclear option for desperate combatants in custody and visitation cases. They and similarly unscrupulous types would be further emboldened under a broad reporting mandate.