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Sexual abuse reporting requirements in North Carolina

Sexual offenses such as statutory rape involve minors. This is a type of sexual abuse specifically targeted at those who are under 16 years old. There are a few exceptions if the other party is within four years of the alleged victim's age -- such as a girl of 14 and a boy of 16 -- but the rule holds true for many cases involving minors.

Of course, not all minors are going to report incidents on their own. This is true not just for statutory rape, but for other types of sexual abuse. This is why the law requires that some people make these reports on behalf of those minors.

These laws differ from state to state, but North Carolina has a very open policy that simply says that anyone who thinks that any type of sexual abuse has taken place has to go to the authorities. This is also true for institutions -- such as schools or hospitals -- along with individuals.

Different counties in North Carolina have directors for the Department of Social Services, and it is to these people that the reports have to be made. The report should not be made to the director in the country where the reporter lives, but to the director from the victim's county. This director then has the next 24 hours to begin an investigation.

People who have been accused of sex crimes or who are being subjected to this type of investigation should make sure that they know what rights they have. They can then ensure that their rights are not violated during the investigation and that they form a proper defense case if necessary.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "Statutory Rape: A Guide to State Laws and Reporting Requirements" Oct. 29, 2014

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