The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is committed to maintaining a supportive and safe educational and working environment, one which seeks to enhance the well-being of all members of its community. This commitment reflects the institution’s adherence to its mission, to the UAB Enterprise Code of Conduct, to its various policies, and to relevant state and federal laws. Within that commitment, UAB places importance on creating a secure environment for children.
This policy applies to activities occurring on UAB’s campus or on property owned or leased by UAB, as well as UAB-sponsored activities occurring off-campus.
All UAB faculty, staff, students, and volunteers, as well as employees and volunteers of third-party vendors that are on premises or providing services on behalf of UAB, (hereinafter “University representatives”) are responsible for complying with this policy.
Child is defined for the purposes of this policy as any individual under 18 years of age or any individual under 19 years of age who is in need of protective services and does not qualify for adult protective services under Chapter 9 of Title 38 in Alabama law.
Abuse is harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare. Harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare can occur through nonaccidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or attempted sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation or attempted sexual exploitation.
Sexual abuse may be perpetrated by an adult or another child and includes the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or having a child assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or any simulation of the conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of the conduct; or the rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children as those acts are defined by Alabama law. Sexual abuse also includes any activity that is meant to arouse or gratify the sexual desires of the perpetrating adult or child. Sexual abuse may or may not involve touching.
Sexual exploitation includes allowing, permitting, or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution and allowing, permitting, encouraging or engaging in the obscene or pornographic photographing, filming, or depicting of a child.
Neglect is negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child, including the failure to provide adequate food, medical treatment, supervision, clothing, or shelter.
University representatives are required to conduct interactions with children according to all laws, regulations, and UAB policies and procedures.
With very limited exception, Alabama law (Ala. Code § 26-14-1 et seq.) makes the reporting to duly authorized officials of known or suspected child abuse or neglect mandatory for hospitals, clinics, sanitariums, doctors, physicians, surgeons, medical examiners, coroners, dentists, osteopaths, optometrists, chiropractors, podiatrists, physical therapists, nurses, public and private K-12 employees, school teachers and officials, peace officers, law enforcement officials, pharmacists, social workers, daycare workers or employees, mental health professionals, employees of public and private institutions of postsecondary and higher education, members of the clergy, and any other person called upon to render aid or medical assistance to a child. It is UAB’s position that, in addition to the mandated statutory reporting requirements, all University representatives must report child abuse or neglect they know or suspect to have occurred on UAB premises or in UAB-sponsored activities to the UAB Police, orally, either by telephone or direct communication immediately, followed by a written report. UAB Police must subsequently inform the Alabama Department of Human Resources of the report.
No form of child abuse, whether physical, emotional, or sexual, will be permitted or tolerated under any circumstances. Child abuse is morally and legally wrong. It can come in many forms. Harm or threatened harm to a child's health or welfare can occur through non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, attempted sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or attempted sexual exploitation.
In deciding whether or not to report an incident or situation of suspected abuse or neglect, proof of abuse or neglect is not required. Any uncertainty in deciding to report suspected abuse or neglect should be resolved in favor of making a good faith report. All inquiries and investigation activities are only to be conducted by the UAB Police or other city, county, or state officials.
UAB prohibits retaliation or allowing retaliation against any University representative for making a good faith report of child abuse or neglect or participating in an inquiry or investigation. Further, any person or entity that makes a good faith report of child abuse or neglect is immune under Alabama law from any liability—civil or criminal—that might otherwise be incurred or imposed.
Failure to make a required report may lead to criminal charges and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or dismissal from program of study. Any UAB employee, trainee, student, volunteer, or other representative committing or complicit with criminal acts against children will be reported by UAB to the appropriate authorities. Students may also be subject to UAB’s Code of Non-academic Conduct.
The Vice President for Financial Affairs and Administration is responsible for procedures to implement this policy.