NH Law About... Reporting Child Abuse

Introduction to... Reporting Child Abuse

Updated May 18, 2017.

New Hampshire’s Child Protection Act is found at RSA 169-C and the Reporting Law is located in sections 29 through 39. These sections explain who is required to report, what happens when a report is made, and what the penalties are for knowingly violating the requirement to report. Definitions, as is common in statutes, are found early in the chapter at RSA 169-C:3. 

The Child Abuse Investigation Protocol will answers almost any question about mandatory reporting of child abuse and about what happens after a report is made. At 158 pages it may be a bit overwhelming; if you need something shorter, the Child Protection Services website of the Department of Health and Human Services explains the process simply and clearly.  

Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive. It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ...  is not a substitute for the services of an attorney.  

Read about... Reporting Child Abuse


New Hampshire. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Child Protection Services

Link verified on: May 18, 2017

NH Law requires any person who suspects that a child under age 18 has been abused or neglected must report that suspicion immediately to DCYF.   GO>

UNH Center for Professional Excellence in Child Welfare (CPE) Mandated Reporting. New Hampshire Mandated Reporting Law

Link verified on: May 18, 2017

New Hampshire law (RSA 169-C: 29) is clear that any person having reason to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected is required to report that suspicion to the Central Intake Unit of the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).   GO>

New Hampshire. Dept. of Justice. Child Abuse Investigation Protocol 3rd ed. 2008.

Link verified on: May 18, 2017

"This Protocol represents a model - an ideal - for New Hampshire's handling of child abuse and neglect cases. It was developed with the recognition that an individual agency￿s ability to follow the recommended guidelines, will depend, to some degree on available resources. The purpose of this protocol is to define a standard to which all agencies involved in the handling of these cases should strive. It is not intended to create substantive rights for individuals. The goal is to provide a safe environment for the evaluation of child abuse and exploitation, coordinated services to victims and families and community education."   GO>


38 AmJur Trials 1. Professional Liability for Failure to Report Child Abuse

This article discusses the civil liability of child and health care professionals for failing to report known or suspected incidents of abuse of children under their care or supervision. The focus of the article in the trial practice sections is on the medical malpractice liability of doctors and hospitals, which is approached from two separate perspectives: (1) liability of a health care provider based on negligent breach of a common-law duty to diagnose and treat a minor who is presented for treatment with signs of the battered child syndrome, and (2) liability based on a violation of a child abuse reporting statute. In the legal background sections, however, the discussion is expanded to treat the similar liabilities of allied professionals, such as psychotherapists, social workers, school teachers, members of the clergy, and others who are expressly or by implication included within the coverage of most child abuse reporting statutes that are in effect in all jurisdictions of the United States.   GO>

Link verified on: May 18, 2017

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Read the law about... Reporting Child Abuse


RSA 169-C. Child Protection Act  GO>

Link verified on: March 16, 2018

RSA 173-C. Confidential Communications Between Victims and Counselors  GO>

Link verified on: May 18, 2017

RSA 193-D. Safe School Zones  GO>

Link verified on: May 18, 2017

RSA 193-F. Pupil Safety and Violence Prevention  GO>

Link verified on: May 18, 2017

RSA 516:35. Privileged Communications. Religious Leaders  GO>

Link verified on: May 18, 2017

RSA 625:9. Classification of Crimes  GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

RSA 631. Assault and Related Offenses  GO>

Link verified on: May 18, 2017

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated

Link verified on: June 29, 2018

Find the New Hampshire statutes in print at libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Statutes: New Hampshire statutes are the laws of the State of New Hampshire as enacted by the New Hampshire General Court. GO>


75 A.3d 1068 (2013). State v. Willis

Link verified on: May 18, 2017

Just as all fifty states have enacted statutes recognizing a religious privilege, so too has each state passed a statute requiring mandatory reporting of child abuse. As one commentator has noted, however, New Hampshire is one of only six states to specifically abrogate the clergy communications privilege in its child abuse reporting statute, requiring a clergyperson to report child abuse regardless of the possible application of the religious privilege. Specifically, our Child Protection Act mandates: “Any ... priest, minister, or rabbi ... having reason to suspect that a child has been abused ... shall report the same in accordance with this chapter.”   GO>

125 N.H. 497 (1984). State v. Howland

Link verified on: May 18, 2017

The question presented is whether a defendant who allegedly abused a child, and subsequently reported the act in “good faith,” may be denied immunity from criminal prosecution for the underlying act of abuse under the immunity provisions of the New Hampshire Child Protection Act, RSA 169-C:31 (Supp.1983). We hold that RSA 169-C:31 (Supp.1983) extends immunity from criminal prosecution solely to the “making of a report” of abuse, as required by RSA 169-C:29 (Supp.1983), by those persons “having reason to suspect” child abuse or child neglect, and does not immunize the criminal conduct underlying the report.   GO>

139 N.H.708 (1995). Marquay v. Eno

Link verified on: May 18, 2017

We hold that the reporting statute does not support a private right of action for its violation because we find no express or implied legislative intent to create such civil liability.   GO>

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Reports

Link verified on: May 18, 2018

Find the New Hampshire Reports in libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Cases: New Hampshire case law consists of the published opinions of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. GO>


He-C 6430. Central Registry  GO>

Link verified on: May 18, 2017


42 U.S.C. 13031. Child Abuse Reporting  GO>

Link verified on: May 18, 2017


New Hampshire Law Library

Link verified on: June 29, 2018

The state's only public law library. Call, email, or visit, we'll be happy to help.   GO>

Child Welfare Information Gateway. State Laws on Reporting and Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect  GO>

Link verified on: May 18, 2017

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