ATrain Education

Continuing Education for Health Professionals

 

Kentucky: Domestic Violence

Module 13

Kentucky Reporting Requirements

In 1978 the Adult Protection Act (KRS 209), which had been passed in 1976, was expanded to include mandatory reporting and provision of voluntary protective services to spousal abuse victims (KSP, 2008).

All suspected cases of domestic violence (including child, elder/adult, and spouse abuse) are to be reported to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS). During normal working hours local Protective Services should be contacted but at all other times call (800) 752-6200.

Child Abuse

“If you believe a child is being abused, neglected or is dependent, you should call the Child Protection Hot Line at (800) 752-6200 or the Protection and Permanency office in your county” (CHFS, 2010a). A list of contact information for those offices is available by searching the website at https://apps.chfs.ky.gov/Office_Phone/index.aspx.

Elder Abuse

Did you know. . .

If you suspect elder abuse, you are legally required to report it (CHFS, 2010b).

The DCBS offers this guidance for anyone who is concerned about possible elder abuse:

If you believe that an elderly person is in imminent danger, call (800) 752-6200 or your local law enforcement agency immediately. If the person is not in imminent danger but you are suspicious, watch the way the caregiver acts toward the elderly or disabled person. Look for a pattern of threatening, harassing, blaming or making demeaning remarks to the person — or isolating the person from family members and friends. Watch for an obvious lack of helpfulness or indifference, aggression or anger toward the person. Listen for conflicting stories about the elderly or disabled person’s illnesses or injuries.” Know the signs of neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, and financial abuse. (CHFS, 2007)

A detailed list of many of the signs of self-neglect, caregiver neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse are provided on the CHFS Elder Abuse Awareness website at http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dpp/eaa/SignsOfAbuse.htm.

Intimate Partner Abuse

Kentucky Revised Statue 209A.030 states the following:

  1. Any person, including, but not limited to, physician, law enforcement officer, nurse, social worker, cabinet personnel, coroner, medical examiner, alternate care facility employee, or caretaker, having reasonable cause to suspect that an adult has suffered abuse, neglect, or exploitation, shall report or cause reports to be made in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Death of the adult does not relieve one of the responsibility for reporting the circumstances surrounding the death.
  2. An oral or written report shall be made immediately to the cabinet upon knowledge of the occurrence of suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an adult. Any person making such a report shall provide the following information, if known: The name and address of the adult, or of any other person responsible for his care; the age of the adult; the nature and extent of the abuse, neglect, or exploitation, including any evidence of previous abuse, neglect, or exploitation; the identity of the perpetrator, if known; the identity of the complainant, if possible; and any other information that the person believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  3. Upon receipt of the report, the cabinet shall take the following action as soon as practical:
    1. Notify the appropriate law enforcement agency;
    2. Initiate an investigation of the complaint; and
    3. Make a written report of the initial findings together with a recommendation for further action, if indicated.

In January 1996 the Kentucky Attorney General rendered a written interpretation of the law at the request of a physician. This document known as Ky. OAG 96-6 may also be of help to nurses wishing clarification of the law. The full text may be found on the attorney general’s website by searching “opinion 96-6.”

Related Statutes

In addition to the mandatory reporting requirement laws, Kentucky nurses and other healthcare professionals should keep themselves informed of the current status of related statutes. Establish good communication with local law enforcement and judicial offices in order to stay abreast of any changes. The following programs relevant to domestic abuse situations

  • Domestic violence protective orders
  • Stalking law
  • VINE (Victims Information and Notification Everyday) system