Nevada Laws Pertaining To Consensual Sex and Mandatory Reporting
An adult who has sex with a minor is breaking the law. The law is there to protect younger teens from unhealthy relationships and its consequences. Consent is not the issue. According to Nevada's laws, a minor under the age of consent cannot legally consent to a sexual relationship with an adult.
Yes. If you are a legal guardian of a child and allow them to be in a statutory rape relationship you can be considered complicit in the crime. In this case, Child Protective Services can take action against you for child abuse or neglect.
Research has shown statutory rape relationships are harmful to the younger person involved.
Romantic relationships play an important developmental role in adolescents’ lives. However, sexual relationships between young teens––particularly young teen women––and older individuals are associated with increased likelihood of engagement in risky sexual behaviors, and with poorer emotional health among adolescents. Among sexually experienced teens, having sex with someone who is older has been associated with less and/or inconsistent use of contraception, including condoms, and a greater risk of teen pregnancy and diagnosed STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). These risks may persist past adolescence. For example, one study found that having an older sexual partner during adolescence is linked to lower contraceptive use in adulthood. Research also finds that adolescent women with older sexual partners are more likely than women with same-age partners to report mental health problems and substance use.
Adolescent women who become sexually active at a young age are more likely to have an older sexual partner than are adolescent women who delay sex. Additionally, adolescent women who have older sexual partners disproportionately come from disadvantaged backgrounds, experience higher levels of family dysfunction, and have poorer parent-child relationships. Adolescent men who are in sexual relationships with older women also tend to come from disadvantaged backgrounds, although young men are more likely than adolescent women to identify these relationships as casual. Men in relationships with younger women are more likely to have criminal histories and lower levels of education, while women in relationships with younger men tend to have more emotional problems and a history of early sexual experience themselves.
Child Trends Databank. (2015). Statutory rape: Sex between young teens and older individuals. Available at: https://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=statutory-rape-sex-between-young-teens-and-older-individuals
NRS 432B.020 Abuse or neglect of a child means:
Physical or mental injury of a non-accidental nature; Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation; or Negligent treatment or maltreatment (as set forth in NRS 432B.140) of a child caused or allowed by a person responsible for the welfare of the child under circumstances which indicate that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm.
NRS 432B.140 Negligent treatment or maltreatment means:
Negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child occurs if a child has been subjected to harmful behavior that is terrorizing, degrading, painful or emotionally traumatic, has been abandoned, is without proper care, control or supervision or lacks the subsistence, education, shelter, medical care or other care necessary for the well-being of the child because of the faults or habits of the person responsible for the welfare of the child or the neglect or refusal of the person to provide them when able to do so.
In Nevada, Statutory Sexual Seduction and all other laws in the Statutory Rape On-Line Resource Center under the mandatory reporting of child abuse law.
NRS 432B.220 Any person who is described below and who, in his or her professional or occupational capacity, knows or has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused or neglected shall:
- Report the abuse or neglect of the child to an agency which provides child welfare services or to a law enforcement agency; and
- Make such a report as soon as reasonably practicable but not later than 24 hours after the person knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the child has been abused or neglected.
- A person providing services licensed or certified in this State pursuant to, without limitation:
- Emergency Medical Services
- Physicians, Physician Assistants, Medical Assistants
- Perfusionists And Practitioners Of Respiratory Care
- Homeopathic Physicians, Advanced Practitioners Of Homeopathy And Homeopathic Assistants
- Dentistry And Dental Hygiene
- Osteopathic Medicine
- Chiropractic Physicians And Chiropractors’ Assistants
- Doctors Of Oriental Medicine
- Podiatric Physicians And Podiatry Hygienists
- Optometry, Dispensing Opticians
- Speech-Language Pathologists And Hearing Aid Specialists
- Pharmacists And Pharmacy
- Physical Therapists, Physical Therapists’ Assistants And Physical Therapists’ Technicians
- Occupational Therapists And Occupational Therapy Assistants
- Athletic Trainers
- Massage Therapists
- Music Therapists
- Behavior Analysts, Assistant Behavior Analysts And Autism Behavior Interventionists
- Marriage And Family Therapists And Clinical Professional Counselors
- Social Workers
- Alcohol, Drug And Gambling Counselor
- Any personnel of a medical facility who are engaged in the admission, examination, care or treatment of persons or an administrator, manager or other person in charge of such a medical facility upon notification of suspected abuse or neglect of a child by a member of the staff of the medical facility.
- A coroner.
- A member of the clergy, practitioner of Christian Science or religious healer, unless the person has acquired the knowledge of the abuse or neglect from the offender during a confession.
- A person working in a school who is licensed or endorsed.
- Any person who maintains or is employed by a facility or establishment that provides care for children, children’s camp or other public or private facility, institution or agency furnishing care to a child.
- Any person licensed to conduct a foster home.
- Any officer or employee of a law enforcement agency or an adult or juvenile probation officer.
- An attorney.
- Any person who maintains, is employed by or serves as a volunteer for an agency or service which advises persons regarding abuse or neglect of a child and refers them to persons and agencies where their requests and needs can be met.
- Any person who is employed by or serves as a volunteer for a youth shelter.
- Any adult person who is employed by an entity that provides organized activities for children.
NRS 432B.230 Method of making report:
- A person may make a report pursuant to NRS 432B.220 (Mandatory Reporters) by telephone or, in light of all the surrounding facts and circumstances which are known or which reasonably should be known to the person at the time, by any other means of oral, written or electronic communication that a reasonable person would believe, under those facts and circumstances, is a reliable and swift means of communicating information to the person who receives the report. If the report is made orally, the person who receives the report must reduce it to writing as soon as reasonably practicable.
- The report must contain the following information, if obtainable:
- The name, address, age and sex of the child;
- The name and address of the child’s parents or other person responsible for the care of the child;
- The nature and extent of the abuse or neglect of the child, the effect of prenatal illegal substance abuse on the newborn infant or the nature of the withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure of the newborn infant;
- Any evidence of previously known or suspected:
- (1) Abuse or neglect of the child or the child’s siblings; or
- (2) Effects of prenatal illegal substance abuse on or evidence of withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure of the newborn infant;
- The name, address and relationship, if known, of the person who is alleged to have abused or neglected the child; and
- Any other information known to the person making the report that the agency which provides child welfare services considers necessary.
No it does not. NRS 432B.220 specifies only two acceptable recipients for your child abuse report—a child protective services agency or a law enforcement agency. This process does not appear to meet the intent of the law. Unless your supervisor works for one of these agencies, this does not fulfill your reporting obligation.
We recommend making a report to the appropriate recipient and then informing your supervisor.
Statutory rape is a crime and requires criminal investigation. In Nevada, child protective services concentrates on child abuse or neglect by individuals who are responsible for the care and protection of a child (NRS 432B.130). You are encouraged to send a copy of your written report to both law enforcement and child protective services to assure all parties have been informed. Additionally, if you believe parental neglect or abuse is in some way responsible for or contributing to the statutory rape, this should be reported to child protective services. If a caregiver covered under (NRS 432B.130) is not responsible or complicit in the statutory rape relationship, it is recommended that you make a primary report to law enforcement.
In your conversation with the young person, you can ask questions to elicit information such as: “Do your parents know about the relationship?” “How do your parents feel about your relationship?” If the parents are aware of the relationships and are apathetic or supportive, they would be considered complicit. This may warrant the involvement of child protective services.
The law enforcement agency having jurisdiction is the one where the offense was committed. If you know where the statutory rape occurred, report to that law enforcement agency. If you do not know where the statutory rape occurred, you may report to the one that has jurisdiction where you received the report. The law does not prevent you from reporting to more than one law enforcement agency.
Although you can make reports anonymously, it is important you provide your information in case there are follow up questions or new information arises.
Ultimately, perusing criminal charges is up to the District Attorney’s office. If you made a report and nothing has been done, it may be that the DA has chosen not to pursue criminal charges. Some Nevada law enforcement agencies are better informed to statutory rape than others. The same is true of individual officers within the same department. You may wish to talk with a detective and ask for one who handles sex crimes or juvenile issues. Make the report to these types of officers.
If you have made a report, you have met your obligation as a mandatory reporter. It is critical that you document the report has been made, recording 1) Who you gave the report to- being as specific as you can 2) date and time the report was given 3) a concise description of what was reported. You should then follow any other policies your place of employment may have in place. If you obtain new/additional information about the report, it is important you update the agency in which you made a report.
The law states a report must be made to the appropriate child welfare agency or law enforcement. If CPS does not take your report you should call your local law enforcement agency or the law enforcement agency in which the crime took place. If you feel the CPS worker was not completing their duties as an employee of CPS, you can call the local CPS office in your area and ask to speak to the office manager. The manager can take this concern as an educational opportunity. You can locate local offices through this link: http://dcfs.nv.gov/Programs/CWS/CWS_OfficeLocations/
Although the law states a report must be made to the appropriate child welfare agency OR law enforcement, if a report does not involve child abuse or neglect by individuals who are responsible for the care and protection of a child (NRS 432B.130), CPS is not able to investigate the report. NRS 432B.130 states, persons responsible for child’s welfare are: A child’s parent, guardian, a stepparent with whom the child lives, an adult person continually or regularly found in the same household as the child, a public or private home, institution or facility where the child actually resides or is receiving care outside of the home for all or a portion of the day, or a person directly responsible or serving as a volunteer for or employed by such a home, institution or facility.
Nevada Specific Resources
- Acts of Omission: An Overview of Child Neglect
- Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect
- DFCS Child Protective Services Fact Sheet
- DFCS Family Independence Fact Sheet
- Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect
- Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect
- Nevada Forms and Phone Numbers to Report Suspected Child Abuse
- Nevada Victims of Crime Program
- Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect (State of Nevada Division of Child and Family Services)
- A Comprehensive Cyberbullying Guide for Parents
- Adolescent Sexual Behavior and the Law (The Crime Victims’ Institute)
- Nevada “Statutory Rape” Laws (NRS 200.368) (Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyers)
- Prevention Resource Guide to Address the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC Prevention Guide)
- State Legislators’ Handbook for Statutory Rape Issues (Office for Victims of Crime)
- Tip Sheets for Parents and Caregiver