Health & Safety

Reporting Suspected Child Abuse

I. Purpose, Scope and Definitions

A.  Purpose

Carleton College strives to safeguard the well-being of minors visiting campus and/or participating in College-sponsored programs. As a result, this Policy on Reporting Suspected Child Abuse addresses Carleton College employee mandatory reporting obligations when child abuse is suspected.

B.  Scope

This policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, and associates of Carleton College. The policy applies to the Carleton College campus, all properties owned or leased by either Carleton College, and all off-campus sites at which students, faculty, or staff or other associated individuals of either institution participate in College sponsored activities, including study abroad programs.

C.  Definitions

  1. Abuse” of a child includes any physical, mental or threatened injury other than by accidental means, including aversive or deprivation procedures or acts of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse includes criminal sexual conduct, soliciting a child to practice prostitution, receiving profit from prostitution by a child, hiring or agreeing to hire a child as a prostitute, and using a child in a sexual performance or pornographic work.
  2. Child.” For the purposes of this policy, a “child” is any minor, defined by law as an individual under the age of 18. “Associate.” For purposes of this policy, an “associate” is any individual or organization engaging in or conducting activities associated with Carleton College or doing business at or with Carleton College.
  3. Neglect” is the commission or omission of any of the following acts other than by accidental means:
    • Failure by a person responsible for a child’s care to supply a child with food, clothing, shelter, health, medical or other care;
    • Failure to protect a child from conditions or actions that seriously endanger the child;
    • Failure to provide for necessary supervision or child care for the child;
    • Failure to provide for the child’s education;
    • Prenatal exposure to a controlled substance;
    • Withholding medical treatment;
    • Chronic and severe use of alcohol or a controlled substance that adversely affects the child’s basic needs and safety; or
    • Emotional harm which contributes to the impaired emotional functioning of the child.
  4. Suspected” means having a good-faith basis to believe that Abuse or Neglect of a Child in violation of this policy has occurred. First-hand observation, a complaint or certainty is not required.

II. Required Reports of Maltreatment of Children (physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect)

A.  All Employees, Associates, and Students must report suspected child abuse

All Carleton College students, faculty, staff, and associates who suspect that a child on campus is experiencing, or has experienced in the previous three years, any physical or sexual abuse are required to immediately report the issue to law enforcement or social services. For non-emergency issues, reports may be made to Campus Security who will help file an official report with law enforcement or social services.

While Minnesota law requires the reporting by certain professionals at the College, such as educators (including faculty, instructors, coaches, deans, etc.), health care providers, and others, the College policy extends this reporting obligation to all employees, students, and associates.

Students, faculty, staff, and associates are required to make reports of suspected physical or sexual abuse or neglect regardless of whether they witnessed the suspected abuse directly or whether the suspected abuse was reported to them by another individual.

In addition to the reports of child abuse that are required by this policy, students, faculty, staff, and associates are strongly encouraged to report any verbal or other conduct by students, faculty, staff, or associates towards a child that may cause emotional harm to the child.

If you have questions about your duties as a mandatory reporter, you may seek assistance from the Human Resources Director or the Title IX Coordinator.

B.  How to Report

If you know or suspect that a child is in immediate danger:

  • call 911 immediately

If a child is not in immediate danger:

  • call campus Security at 507-222-4444, Northfield Police at 911 or 504-645-4477, and/or Rice County Human Services at 507-645-9576.

C.  Reports of Child Pornography Required

Possession of child pornography is a crime for which Carleton College has zero tolerance. Any Carleton College student, faculty, staff, or associate who suspects that a Carleton College student or employee is in possession of or accessing child pornography on the college campus, in connection with any Carleton College event, or by using college property including, but not limited to: computers, servers, phones, cameras or other resources, must immediately report their concerns. A mandatory report to the police, the county sheriff, or Rice County Human Services is also required.

D.  No Retaliation

Carleton College will not retaliate against any student, faculty, or staff who makes a good faith report of suspected child abuse under this policy, and retaliation by any community member (student or employee) is strictly prohibited. Encouraging others to retaliate also violates this policy. Any student, faculty, or staff member who feels they have been retaliated against for making a report under this policy or for participating in an investigation should contact the Human Resources Director.

Last Revised: June 1, 2016

Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees

For: Faculty, Staff, Students

Last Reviewed: August 30, 2023

Maintained by: Dean of Students Office