In many U.S. states and Australia, mandated reporters are professionals who, in the ordinary course of their work and because they have regular contact with children, disabled persons, senior citizens, or other identified vulnerable populations, are required to report (or cause a report to be made) whenever financial, physical, sexual or other types of abuse has been observed or is suspected, or when there is evidence of neglect, knowledge of an incident, or an imminent risk of serious harm. For example, in South Australia, a school teacher must report a child attending school seeming malnourished or presenting with bruising, complaining of neglect or otherwise demonstrating neglect or abuse at home, to child welfare authorities.

In many states, all citizens are considered mandated reporters.[citation needed] These professionals can be held liable by both the civil and criminal legal systems for intentionally failing to make a report but their name can also be said unidentified. Mandated reporters also include persons who have assumed full or intermittent responsibility for the care or custody of a child, dependent adult, or elder, whether or not they are compensated for their services. RAINN maintains a database of mandatory reporting regulations regarding children and the elderly by state, including who is required to report, standards of knowledge, definitions of a victim, to whom the report must be made, information required in the report, and regulations regarding timing and other procedures
Abuse occurs where a victim has suffered physical injury inflicted other than by accidental means, has injuries, or is in a condition resulting from mistreatment, such as malnutrition, sexual molestation or exploitation, deprivation of necessities, emotional abuse or cruelty.

Neglect may be defined as abandonment, denial of proper care and attention physically, emotionally, or morally, or living under conditions, circumstances or associations injurious to well-being.

Typically, minimum requirements for what must be reported include:

A description of how the reporter learned of the injuries or neglect and of any actions taken to assist
Information on previous injuries, assaults, neglect or financial abuses
The date, time, nature, and extent of the abuse or neglect
The date of the report
The perpetrator's name, address, and relationship to the (possible) victim
The reporter's name, agency, position, address, telephone number, and signature
[edit] Abuse or neglect suspected at an institution or facility
Mandated reporters are required to file a report whenever there is reasonable cause to suspect or believe any resident of a care facility has been abused or neglected by a staff member of a public or private institution or facility that provides care. Whenever the results of an investigation leads to the conclusion that there is reasonable cause to believe that that there has been abuse or neglect perpetrated by staff, then the institution, school or facility must provide records concerning the investigation to the appropriate investigating agency and/or to the agency that licensed the facility.

An institution may suspend employee(s) during an investigation, or, at the conclusion of an investigation, may impose penalties in addition to any separate penalties resulting from civil litigation or criminal prosecution. Employers may not discharge, discriminate or retaliate against an employee for making a good faith report or for testifying at an abuse or neglect proceeding.

[edit] Anonymity and immunity
Mandated reporters are usually required to give their name when they make a report, but may request anonymity to protect their privacy. A mandated reporter who knowingly makes a false report will ordinarily have their identity disclosed to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and their identity may be disclosed to the alleged perpetrator of the reported abuse or neglect.

A mandated reporter may be subject to penalties, though immunity from civil or criminal liability is granted to reporters who report in good faith. Immunity is also granted to reporters who, in good faith, have not reported. However, failure to report suspected abuse or neglect could result in fines or other sanctions, such as participation in a training program. Failure to act may result in even stiffer penalties, such as civil litigation or criminal prosecution with the prospect of potential imprisonment.