Protecting minors: the vital role of mandatory reporting

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The development of minors, both physiologically and psychologically, is a critical aspect of their overall welfare. Tragically, minors often face secrecy when confronted with abuse in adult society. In response to this pressing issue, establishing a mandatory reporting system has become increasingly vital and indispensable.

China has undertaken several measures to protect minors, including the implementation of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law in 2016, the issuance of the Opinions on Establishing a Mandatory Reporting System for Cases of Infringement on Minors in 2020, and the recent revision of the Law on the Protection of Minors, effective from June 1, 2021.

Timely detection and intervention

The primary objective of a mandatory reporting system is to promptly detect and address crimes committed against minors, ensuring their protection in an effective and timely manner.

By imposing a legal obligation to report, individuals and organizations responsible for minors must alert the authorities when instances of infringement occur or when there are reasonable suspicions of harm.

Such cases include abnormal injuries to a minor’s genital organs, sexual assault against female minors, pregnancy or miscarriage resulting from sexual assault, severe physical injuries, malnutrition, domestic violence, bullying, abuse, and instances where minors are disabled, deceased, abandoned, or left unattended for extended periods.

Who bears the responsibility to report?

The Opinions on the Establishment of a Mandatory Reporting System for Cases Against Minors outline the entities accountable for mandatory reporting.

This includes housing committees, village committees, educational institutions (such as schools, kindergartens, and off-campus training institutions), childcare services, medical institutions (hospitals, clinics, maternal and child health centers), children’s welfare institutions, rescue management agencies, social work service agencies, hotels, guesthouses, state organs, and public officials authorized to exercise public power.

These organizations and their employees, who frequently interact with minors, carry the responsibility of reporting.

Where to report?

Responsible parties can report cases to either the public security authorities or the education administration. It is essential for various public authorities to fulfill their duties in providing relief and protection to minors in need.

Public security departments and procuratorates should collaborate with civil affairs departments, the Communist Youth League, Women’s Federation, and other relevant organizations to implement necessary measures such as economic relief, medical treatment, psychological intervention, investigation, and evaluation for both minors and their families. Judicial assistance should also be promptly initiated for minors facing specific life difficulties.

Ensuring compliance and accountability

To ensure the effectiveness of the mandatory reporting system, protection is granted to individuals and organizations fulfilling their reporting obligations. The Opinions state that those who fulfill their responsibilities will not face legal consequences in reporting related disputes concerning cases involving minors.

Any interference or obstruction of the reporting process will be subject to legal accountability. Failure of organizations and their staff to fulfill reporting obligations, resulting in severe consequences, may lead to disciplinary action or criminal charges.

Authorities are obligated to investigate and hold public officials accountable for neglecting their reporting duties or failing to comply with the requirements of the mandatory reporting system.


Safeguarding the physical and mental well-being of minors is paramount, considering their susceptibility to abuse in adult society. Consequently, implementing a mandatory reporting system for cases against minors is a crucial step towards protecting their rights.