Executive Order 54 decision guide

A page within Human Resources

Use the following decision guide to determine when executive order 54 applies. Scroll further for information about reporting an incident.

Executive order 54 applies when an employee observes or learns of an incident of child abuse or neglect. 

Am I an employee?

Employee is any UW-La Crosse (UW System) employee, including students, staff, faculty, and volunteers.

Am I dealing with a child?

A child, for purposes of reporting child abuse or neglect, is a person under the age of 18.

Is there concern of abuse or neglect?

Physical abuse expanding section
  • Physical abuse is defined as "physical injury" inflicted on a child by other than accidental means by any other person including:

    • Lacerations

    • Fractured bones

    • Burns

    • Severe or frequent bruising

  • Warning Signs of Physical abuse

    • Bruises around the cheeks, abdomen, thighs, or midway between the wrist & elbow

    • Bruises that are different colors

    • Bruises that are in the shape of an object

    • Bruises on multiple parts of the body

    • Adult-sized, human bite marks

    • Burns, especially from objects like cigarettes & irons

  • Questions to consider in evaluating possible physical abuse - you can use these warning signs & the questions below to help determine if a report needs to be made

    • Does the student's explanation for the injury make sense to you?

    • Is the student evasive about sharing how the injury occurred?


Last modified: 06/29/2016

Sexual abuse expanding section
  • Sexual abuse of a child includes any of the following:

    • Sexual intercourse or sexual contact with a child under the age of 16 or with a 16 or 17 year old child without his or her consent under Wis. Stat. §§ 940.225, 948.02, 948.025, or 948.085;

    • Sexual exploitation of a child;

    • Permitting, allowing or encouraging a child to violate the statute prohibiting prostitution;

    • Causing a child to view or listen to sexual activity;

    • Exposing genitals or pubic area to a child or exposing a child's genitals or pubic area;

  • Warning Signs of Sexual abuse

    • Extreme secrecy, compliance, or withdrawal

    • An unusual fear of people from one gender or with specific characteristics (e.g., a deep voice)

    • Very seductive behavior

    • Unusual knowledge about sex for age

    • Sexual play with peers that goes beyond curiosity

  • Questions to consider in evaluating possible sexual abuse

    • Does the child report having sexual contact with another person?

    • Has the child been exploited sexually in some way?

    • Has the child been exposed to sexual content?

    • How is age a factor in these questions?

Last modified: 06/29/2016

Emotional abuse expanding section
  • Emotional abuse is defined as "emotional damage" for which the child's parent, guardian or legal custodian has neglected, refused or been unable for reasons other than poverty to obtain the necessary treatment or to take steps to ameliorate the symptoms.

  • Warning Signs of Emotional abuse

    • Physical reactions:

      • wetting or soiling themselves, headaches, stomach aches,

    • Emotional reactions:

      • sudden fearful behavior, feelings of having little self-worth, inappropriate emotions

    • Behavioral reactions:

      • social withdrawal, difficulty concentrating, compulsive attention to detail, rocking, head banging, cruelty to animals

    • Severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, aggressive behavior

    • Substantial change in child's behavior, emotional response

    • Development of atypical  behavior for age or development

Last modified: 06/29/2016

Manufacture of methamphetamine expanding section

Manufacture of Methamphetamine (meth) is a form of child abuse under any of the following circumstances:

  • With a child physically present

  • In a child's home (includes the premises of a child's home or a motor vehicle located on the premises of a child's home)

  • Under any other circumstances in which a reasonable person should have known that the manufacture would be seen, smelled, or heard by a child

Last modified: 06/29/2016

Reporting child abuse or neglect expanding section

How to report an incident and what to expect when you determine a report should be made.

  • Should I report?

    • What if I am not sure?

      • It is common for someone to be unsure if a report should be made.

      • It is OK to talk to someone else (supervisor/program coordinator) who can help to determine if a report is necessary; however talking to someone else may not delay reporting of an incident.

      • Any person making a report of child abuse or neglect in good faith is immune from civil or criminal liability that results from the report.

  • Who do I call?

    • Reports must be made in person or by telephone to the following:

      • UW-La Crosse University Police

        • 789-9000 (office)

        • 789-9999 (for emergencies only) staffed 24 hrs

      • Call 911 if the child is in imminent danger

  • How do I know when to file a report?

    • Obtain only enough information to decide whether a report is needed.

    • Suspicion is enough.

    • Child Protective Services or law enforcement will investigate.

    • Inform your supervisor

  • Who reports and when?

    • Who makes the actual report?

      • The person who has observed or learned of a situation

    • How soon after I receive the information should I make the report?

      • As soon as possible

    • How do I inform the child and/or parents that I will be filing a report?

      • Any report you make is confidential. It is not to be shared with anyone other than your immediate supervisor

  • What will filing a report be like?

    • Campus police may ask you the questions like the ones below as part of the initial report. County Protective Services may follow up with similar questions.

      • What did you observe?  What was reported to you?

        • Specifics of the reported or observed abuse or neglect

      • Where were you located when you observed the behavior?

      • Do you know the individuals involved?

        • Information about the child, parents, suspected abuser (names, address,  phone number, date of birth)

      • Clothing and physical descriptions of those involved

      • Any information received from the child

      • Your contact information 

      • Who you have discussed the situation with?

    • Does every report result in action?

      • No

      • You may not ever learn of the outcome of your report

  • Are reports confidential?

    • Reports should be kept confidential unless a limited exception applies. 

      • In general:

        • The county, local law enforcement may not share any identifying information about a University employee who makes a report

        • The University (and its employees) must keep all related records about the report confidential to

          • Protect child

          • Avoid interest discussions not tied to a necessary purpose

  • What happens after I file a report?

    • Will County Protective Services or Campus Police follow up with me?

      • Perhaps, if they need additional information

    • How will I know if the child is safe?

      • You have taken the important first step of making a report.  You will need to trust in the systems established to protect the child.

    • Will my identity be disclosed?

      • NO!

    • Have I satisfied my employment obligation?

      • Yes, if you have reported in good faith.

Last modified: 06/29/2016