Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter II-A. Reporting Requirements in Child Sexual Abuse Offense Cases.


§ 22–3020.51. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Child” means an individual who has not yet attained the age of 16 years.

(2) “Person” means an individual 18 years of age or older.

(3) “Police” means the Metropolitan Police Department.

(4) “Sexual abuse” means any act that is a violation of:

(A) Section 22-1834;

(B) Section § 22-2704;

(C) This chapter (§ 22-3001 et seq.); or

(D) Section 22-3102.


(May 23, 1995, D.C. Law 10-257, § 251; as added June 8, 2013, D.C. Law 19-315, § 4, 60 DCR 1702.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-1831.03 and § 4-1321.02.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-315 added this section.


§ 22–3020.52. Reporting requirements and privileges.

(a) Any person who knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that a child is a victim of sexual abuse shall immediately report such knowledge or belief to the police. For the purposes of this subchapter, a call to 911, or a report to the Child and Family Services Agency, shall be deemed a report to the police.

(b) Any person who is or has been a victim of sexual abuse is not required to report pursuant to subsection (a) of this section if the identity of the alleged perpetrator matches the identity of the victim’s abuser.

(c) No legally recognized privilege, except for the following, shall apply to this subchapter:

(1) A lawyer or a person employed by a lawyer is not required to report pursuant to subsection (a) of this section if the lawyer or employee is providing representation in a criminal, civil, or delinquency matter, and the basis for the knowledge or belief arises solely in the course of that representation.

(2)(A) The notification requirements of subsection (a) of this subsection do not apply to a priest, clergyman, rabbi, or other duly appointed, licensed, ordained, or consecrated minister of a given religion in the District of Columbia, or a duly accredited practitioner of Christian Science in the District of Columbia, if the basis for the knowledge or belief is the result of a confession or penitential communication made by a penitent directly to the minister if:

(i) The penitent made the confession or penitential communication in confidence;

(ii) The confession or penitential communication was made expressly for a spiritual or religious purpose;

(iii) The penitent made the confession or penitential communication to the minister in the minister’s professional capacity; and

(iv) The confession or penitential communication was made in the course of discipline enjoined by the church or other religious body to which the minister belongs.

(B) A confession or communication made under any other circumstances does not fall under this exemption.

(d) This section should not be construed as altering the special duty to report by persons specified in § 4-1321.02(b).


(May 23, 1995, D.C. Law 10-257, § 252; as added June 8, 2013, D.C. Law 19-315, § 4, 60 DCR 1702.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-315 added this section.


§ 22–3020.53. Defense to non-reporting.

(a) Any survivor of domestic violence may use such domestic violence as a defense to his or her failure to report under this subchapter.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the term “domestic violence” means intimate partner violence, as defined in § 16-1001(7), and intrafamily violence, as defined in § 16-1001(9).


(May 23, 1995, D.C. Law 10-257, § 253; as added June 8, 2013, D.C. Law 19-315, § 4, 60 DCR 1702.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-315 added this section.


§ 22–3020.54. Penalties.

(a) Any person required to make a report under this subchapter who willfully fails to make such a report shall be subject to a civil fine of $300.

(b) Adjudication of any infraction of this subchapter shall be handled by the Office of Administrative Hearings pursuant to § 2-1831.03(b-6).


(May 23, 1995, D.C. Law 10-257, § 254; as added June 8, 2013, D.C. Law 19-315, § 4, 60 DCR 1702.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-315 added this section.


§ 22–3020.55. Immunity from liability.

(a) Any person who in good faith makes a report pursuant to this subchapter shall have immunity from liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed with respect to the making of the report or any participation in any judicial proceeding involving the report. In all civil or criminal proceedings concerning the child or resulting from the report, good faith shall be presumed unless rebutted.

(b) Any person who makes a good-faith report pursuant to this subchapter and, as a result thereof, is discharged from his or her employment or in any other manner discriminated against with respect to compensation, hire, tenure, or terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, may commence a civil action for appropriate relief. If the court finds that the person is an individual who was required to report, who in good faith made a report, and who was discharged or discriminated against as a result, the court may issue an order granting appropriate relief, including reinstatement with back pay. The District may intervene in any action commenced under this subsection.


(May 23, 1995, D.C. Law 10-257, § 255; as added June 8, 2013, D.C. Law 19-315, § 4, 60 DCR 1702.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-315 added this section.