AN ACT TO AMEND PART II, TITLE 16, DELAWARE CODE, BEING REGULATORY PROVISIONS CONCERNING PUBLIC HEALTH, TO PROVIDE FOR THE MANDATORY REPORTING BY PHYSICIANS AND INSTITUTIONS OF CERTAIN PHYSICAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN, AND THE PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO MAKE SUCH REPORTS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State Delaware:
Section 1. That Part II, Title 16, Delaware Code, entitled "Regulatory Provisions Concerning Public Health", be and the same is hereby amended by adding thereto the following new chapter:
CHAPTER 10. MANDATORY REPORTING BY PHYSICIANS
AND INSTITUTIONS OF CERTAIN PHYSICAL
ABUSE OF CHILDREN
§ 1001. Purpose
The purpose of this Chapter is to provide for the protection of children who have had physical injury inflicted upon them or who have been so severely neglected that their health is in jeopardy and who may be threatened by the conduct of those responsible for their care and protection.
§ 1002. Reports by physicians and institutions
Any physician, including any licensed doctor of medicine, licensed osteopathic physician, intern and resident, having reasonable and just cause to believe that a child under the age of eighteen (18) years brought to him or coming before him for examination, care or treatment has had serious physical injury or injuries inflicted upon him other than by accidental means by a parent or other person responsible for his care, shall report or cause reports to be made in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter; provided that when the attendance of a physician with respect to a child is pursuant to the performance of services as a member of the staff of a hospital or similar institution he shall notify the person in charge of the institution or his designated delegate who shall report or cause reports to be made in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter.
§ 1003. Nature and content of report; to whom made
A written report shall be made to the Family Court of the County where such child resides. Such report shall be made not later than three (3) days, Saturdays and Sundays excepted, after the discovery of the injury which is being reported. The report may be made in writing or by telephone, but a report by telephone shall be confirmed by a written report within one (1) week. Such report shall contain the names and addresses of the child and his parents or other persons responsible for his care, if known, the child's age, the nature and extent of the child's injuries (including any evidence of previous injuries), and any other information that the physician believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of the injuries and the identity of the perpetrator. Upon receipt of such report, the Family Court may, in its discretion, refer the matter to a probation officer, any institution receiving state aid or any other welfare agency as any Judge of the Family Court directs.
§ 1004. Immunity from liability
Anyone participating in good faith in the making of a report pursuant to this Chapter shall have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed. Any such participant shall have the same immunity with respect to participation in any judicial proceeding resulting from such report.
§ 1005. Evidence not privileged
Neither the physician-patient privilege nor the husband-wife privilege shall be a ground for excluding evidence regarding a child's injuries or the cause thereof, in any judicial proceeding resulting from a report pursuant to this Chapter.
§ 1006. Penalty for violations
Anyone knowingly and willingly violating the provisions of this Chapter shall be subject to the penalties provided in Section 113, Title 16, Delaware Code.
Approved May 6, 1965.