Legal breakdown regarding the reporting of abuse for substance abuse counselors in Illinois

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Most of the people who are suffering from substance abuse also may face other forms of abuse such as child abuse. According to NCBI only 18 states allow all their citizens to report in case of suspected abuse or neglect (NCBI, 2013). The rest require the substance abuse counselors especially the licensed nurses or therapists to do the reporting. In case the lack of reporting causes the child for instance to get into any harm; the practitioner’s license may be revoked and also face other civil charges.

All the states have a particular procedure that they require the counselors to follow when reporting. Most of them nowadays have a toll free number where an oral report is passed through with the details of the victim (Shaun, 2009). It is usually up to the agency that deals with the treatment of substance abuse to develop a sequential way of dealing with the legal matters within its organization. For instance one may require discussing the issue to a senior before reporting it.

It is important for the counselor to ensure that the client signs a form that fully allows him to report the abuse. Although in most cases the counselor does not require to inform the client about it, it gets easier when the client knows so as to avoid the feelings of betrayal and tensions later on. If the client has a history of violence, the counselor should guard himself on what he includes in the report simply for his own safety (Margaret, 2011). It is very advisable that the counselor gets to follow the state laws with regard to reporting a case. This does not usually mean that the report should be disclosed to any other party especially without the clients consent. If a name is required of them; then a name should be there. However the counselor should only include the fields required by the state law and nothing more.

  • NCBI (2013,) Legal Responsibilities and Recourse, Retrieved from:
  • Margaret B. (2011), Medicine, Patients and the Law: Revised and Updated Fifth Edition, Penguin Books Limited – Family & Relationships
  • Shaun D. (2009), Medical law and ethics, Sweet & Maxwell, 2009 – Law