These laws and the media and advocacy coverage and research brought about a gradual change in societal expectations on reporting in the United States and, at different rates, in other western nations.
Originally created to respond to physical abuse, reporting systems in various countries began to expand to address sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, and exposure to domestic abuse.
In the United States, states frequently amend their laws, but as of November 2013 all States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U. Virgin Islands have statutes identifying persons who are required to report suspected child maltreatment to an appropriate agency.
Approximately 48 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands designate professions whose members are mandated by law to report child maltreatment.
Mandated reporters are usually required to give their name when they make a report.
This allows investigators to contact them for further details if needed, and protects the mandated reporter from accusations that they did not report as required by law.
Each year in the US, approximately 85% of hotline calls either do not warrant investigation or are not substantiated.