A newly-enacted Washington law permits, and attempts to encourage, the reporting of cases of physical child abuse to law enforcement agencies by physicians and dentists. Upon receipt of such a report, it is made the "duty" of the law enforcement agency to investigate and refer the case to the juvenile court. The new law provides that any person making such a report shall be immune from civil liability that he might have otherwise incurred for reporting the incident. The new law further provides that the physician-patient communication privilege shall not be a ground for excluding evidence in any judicial proceeding resulting from a report pursuant to the act. The statutory requirement of consent before a husband or wife can testify against his or her spouse is also suspended as to criminal proceedings in which the spouse is accused of committing a crime against his or her child.
Legislative Efforts to Control Child Abuse in Washington,
Wash. L. & Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol40/iss4/13