Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–1903. Reporting requirements.

(a)(1) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, whenever a conservator, court-appointed mental retardation advocate, guardian, health-care administrator, licensed health professional, police officer, humane officer of any agency charged with the enforcement of animal cruelty laws, bank manager, financial manager, or social worker has as a result of his or her appointment, employment, or practice substantial cause to believe that an adult is in need of protective services because of abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another, he or she shall immediately report this belief in accordance with subsection (c) of this section.

(2) Any person may voluntarily report an alleged case of abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or exploitation when he or she has reason to believe that an adult is in need of protective services. Voluntary reporting shall also be effected in accordance with subsection (c) of this section.

(b) The duty to report established by subsection (a)(1) of this section shall not apply to a social worker or licensed health professional who has as a client or patient, or is employed by a lawyer representing, a third person who is allegedly responsible for the abuse or neglect.

(c) A report made pursuant to this section may be either oral or written and shall be transmitted to the division within the Department designated by the Mayor to receive these reports. Each report shall include, if known: The name, age, physical description, and location of the adult alleged to be in need of protective services; the name and location of the person(s) allegedly responsible for the abuse, neglect, or exploitation; the nature and extent of the abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or exploitation; the basis of the reporter’s knowledge; and any other information the reporter believes might be helpful to an investigation. A reporter may be required to identify himself or herself only when obliged to report under subsection (a)(1) of this section.

(d)(1) The Department shall maintain a record of all reports received and be capable of receiving reports 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (including holidays). Except as provided in paragraph (4) of this subsection, the Department may release reports and investigative information acquired pursuant to this chapter only:

(A) To another public or private agency, only to the minimal extent required to conduct an investigation, provide services under this chapter, or petition the court for appointment of a guardian of the person or conservatorship of the estate of the person (or a limited guardianship or conservatorship) under Chapter 20 of Title 21;

(B) To the Attorney General for the District of Columbia or United States Attorney if requested for an investigation, prosecution, or civil or administrative enforcement action;

(B-i) To the Metropolitan Police Department;

(C) If directed by court order;

(D) For the purposes of and in accordance with Chapter 2B of this title [§ 7-241 et seq.]; or

(E) To a court-appointed representative of an adult in need of protective services or an adult in need of protective services or his or her legal representative, upon receipt of a verbal or written request for access to reports and investigative information, including health information; provided, that:

(i) The Department shall release reports and investigative information under this subparagraph only to the extent permitted by District or federal law or regulation; and

(ii) The Department shall not release under this subparagraph:

(I) The identity and other personal information of reporters, witnesses, and interviewees, other than interviewees who are District government employees;

(II) Other information which could reasonably be used to identify a reporter, witness, or interviewee, other than an interviewee who is a District government employee;

(III) Psychotherapy and personal notes; and

(IV) Information compiled in reasonable anticipation of, or for use in, a civil, criminal, or administrative action or proceeding.

(2) A recipient of a report or investigative information released pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be subject to the same restrictions on disclosure applicable to the Department under that paragraph.

(3) Any person possessing a report or investigative information acquired pursuant to this chapter shall take reasonable steps to prevent the disclosure of information that might reveal the reporter’s identity to the person(s) allegedly responsible for the abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

(4) The Department may release statistics and other data acquired pursuant to this chapter for research, reporting, or educational purposes provided all identifying references to individuals are deleted.

(d-1) The Department may provide outreach and training on the requirements of this section to members of the public and to appropriate governmental personnel, including law enforcement officers, social services personnel, judicial officers, guardians and conservators for incapacitated adults, and others as may be determined by the Mayor.

(e) The Mayor shall widely publicize the phone number and mailing address of the division within the Department designated to receive reports under this section, and may conduct educational programs for those persons required to report under subsection (a)(1) of this section.


(Mar. 14, 1985, D.C. Law 5-156, § 4, 32 DCR 13; Mar. 8, 2006, D.C. Law 16-67, § 2(c), 53 DCR 40; Dec. 5, 2008, D.C. Law 17-281, § 103, 55 DCR 9186; Dec. 4, 2010, D.C. Law 18-273, § 207, 57 DCR 7171; Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-199, § 2(a), 63 DCR 15036.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-2503.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-1908 and § 7-1912.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-67, in subsec. (a)(1), substituted “bank manager, financial manager, or social worker” for “or social worker” and “abuse, neglect, or exploitation” for “abuse or neglect”; in subsec. (a)(2), substituted “self-neglect, or exploitation” for “or exploitation”; in subsec. (b), substituted “a third person” for “the 3rd person”; in subsec. (c), substituted “the nature and extent of the abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or exploitation” for “the nature and extent of the abuse, neglect, or exploitation”; rewrote subsec. (d)(1)(A); in subsec. (d)(1)(B), substituted “Attorney General for the District of Columbia” for “Corporation Counsel”; added subsec. (d)(1)(B-1); in subsec. (d)(2), substituted “paragraph (1)” for “paragraph (1)(A) through (C)”; added subsec. (d-1); and rewrote subsec. (e).

D.C. Law 17-281, in subsec. (a)(1), substituted “police officer, humane officer of any agency charged with the enforcement of animal cruelty laws,” for “police officer,”.

D.C. Law 18-273, in subsec. (d)(1), deleted “or” from the end of subpar. (B-1), substituted “; or” for a period at the end of subpar. (C), and added subpar. (D).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 207 of Data-Sharing and Information Coordination Emergency Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-530, August 6, 2010, 57 DCR 8099).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 207 of Data-Sharing and Information Coordination Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-582, October 20, 2010, 57 DCR 10118).

Editor's Notes

Delayed application of Law 5-156: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 7-1901.