Policy: Child Abuse


The purpose of this policy is to provide personnel in the Michigan State University Police Department (Department) with guidelines for responding to reports of child abuse and neglect, to include: response protocols, investigation guidelines, victim support services, and collaboration with health and support service community partners.


Model Policy

It is the policy of this Department that the current State of Michigan Model Child Abuse and Neglect Protocol and the Ingham County Protocol for Investigation of Child Abuse shall be used to provide resources and information related to sexual assault investigations.

The link to Michigan Model Child Abuse and Neglect Protocol and the Ingham County Protocol can be found on the Department’s technology page.


Child: An individual under 18 years of age.

Person Responsible for Child

A parent, legal guardian, or person 18 years of age or older who resides for any length of time in the same house in which the child resides.

A non-parent adult is a person 18 years of age or older and who, regardless of the person’s domicile, meets all of the following criteria in relation to the child:

Has substantial and regular contact with the child

Has a close personal relationship with the child’s parent or with another person responsible for the child’s health or welfare.

Is not the child’s parent or a person otherwise related to the child by blood or affinity to the third degree (parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, great aunt, great uncle, niece, or nephew).

A non-parent adult who resides in any home where a child is receiving respite care. Note: This includes nonparent adults residing with a child when the complaint involves sexual exploitation (human trafficking).

An owner, operator, volunteer, or employee of one or more of the following:

A licensed or registered child care organization.

A licensed or unlicensed adult foster care family home or adult foster care small group home.

Child care organization or institutional setting

Child Abuse

Harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare that occurs through non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment.

Child Neglect

Harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare by a parent, legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare that occurs through either of the following:

Negligent treatment, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care.

Placing a child at an unreasonable risk to the child’s health or welfare by failure of the parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare to intervene to eliminate that risk when that person is able to do so and has, or should have, knowledge of the risk.

This also includes: physical neglect; failure to protect; improper supervision and abandonment

Child Sexually Abusive Material (CSAM)

Any depiction which is of a child or appears to include a child engaging in sexual intercourse, erotic fondling, sadomasochistic abuse, masturbation, passive sexual involvement, sexual excitement, or erotic nudity.



Basic response protocols for special victim crimes are found INV20. That policy outlines general rules and procedures to follow in all special victim crimes. This procedure addresses the unique nature of child abuse and neglect calls for service.

The 9-1-1 Dispatch Center will be advised of response procedures, but the Duty Supervisor should monitor the details of any child abuse or neglect calls for service being dispatched.

Upon receipt of initial complaint of child abuse or neglect, determine the following:

Identify the relationship of the alleged perpetrator of abuse and/or neglect to the child who is disclosing abuse.

Document the child’s verbatim statements regarding abuse and neglect.

Ensure the safety of the child, acting accordingly as prescribed in Child Protection Law.

Evaluate the medical needs of the child

If the abuse is suspected to involve penetration and is suspected within the preceding 120 hours (5 days), or if there is serious physical injury, arrange for immediate medical examination of the child with Sparrow Pediatric SANE or a physician trained in sexual abuse and/or severe physical abuse (see INV16).

If the child appears to be in immediate danger of sexual abuse, neglect, and/or physical abuse in the home environment and therefore requires immediate removal:

Take step(s) to remove child(ren) by taking the child(ren) into custody.

Child Protective Services (CPS) can assist in finding a suitable relative or foster care placement.

Notify the person responsible for the child(ren), unless that person is the alleged offender.

Provide a courtesy transport at the request of CPS, if needed.

If there is reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or neglect by a person responsible for the child, an immediate verbal report must be made to CPS using the centralized intake number.

A law enforcement officer is a mandated reporter under the Michigan Child Protection Law.

When you call the CPS centralized intake number at ████████████████████████████████ provide the following information to intake personnel:

Primary caretakers’ name and address

Names and identifying information for all household members, including the alleged victim and perpetrator

The address where the alleged incident happened

Why child abuse and/or neglect is suspected

Document in the police report the CPS log number, which they will provide.

Fax the incident report or DHS 3200 form to 616-977-1154 (or 616-977-1158) within 72 hours of making the verbal report, along with any police reports that are completed. The form can be located online.

Prior Abuse Disclosed by Adult

Michigan courts have not yet addressed the status of college and university faculty as mandated reporters, nor have they addressed the legal obligation to report prior abuse disclosed by an adult directly to CPS.

When an adult survivor notifies you of prior child abuse or neglect, you will need to determine based on your training and experience, whether there is reasonable cause to believe that there are children currently living with the perpetrator or that the perpetrator has access to children.

If the information available indicates that the perpetrator currently has access to children then a report must be filed with CPS.

If you are unable to determine if the perpetrator currently has access to children then a report must be filed with CPS.

Interview of the Child(ren)

The State of Michigan Protocol establishing forensic interviewing must be used.

Law enforcement and CPS investigators will coordinate the interview of the child to assess immediate safety, if at all possible.

Forensic interviews with a child(ren) 16 years of age or less shall be conducted at a Children’s Assessment Center (CAC) whenever possible, per the Ingham County Protocol for Investigation of Child Abuse. For a child(ren) 17-18 years of age, the interviews may be done at CAC.

The local CAC is Small Talk Children’s Assessment Center located at 3400 Pine Tree Road, Suite 106, Lansing.

Whenever possible, all of the following should be present at the interview:

A law enforcement representative trained in forensic interviewing

CPS investigator

A representative from the Prosecutor’s Office

A mental health counselor

An advocate from the CAC


State of Michigan Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect; and the Department of Health and Human Services Forensic Interviewing Protocol.

Ingham County Protocol for Investigation of Child Abuse.

University Reporting Protocols: Child Abuse, Sexual Assault, and Child Pornography.