Since the topic has come up, I thought I’d pass along the list I have of state statutes that impose a duty to rescue crime victims, or report crimes. This might help people see the different ways these duties have been crafted in the past — generally quite narrowly, but sometimes more broadly.
I focus on duties applicable to the general public, and do not include special duties imposed on particular categories of people, such as doctors, teachers, and the like. These are all the statutes I know of, but there might well be others.
Note that, unless otherwise specified, the statutes will likely apply only when the person actually believes that he is (or at least might well be) witnessing a crime or emergency. If he is reasonably mistaken about what’s going on, he’ll (theoretically) be off the hook; and under most of the statutes — the ones that don’t specifically limit this to a reasonable mistake — this would be true even if he is honestly but unreasonably mistaken about what’s going on.
|Law||Covered situations||Scope of duty||Exceptions or limitations||Penalty|
|California Penal Code § 152.3||Any person who reasonably believes that he or she has observed the commission of [murder, rape, or lewd conduct with an under-14-year-old by use of violence or threat] where the victim is a child under the age of 14 years||shall notify [or attempt to notify] a peace officer||[but not if doing so would] affect privileged relationships as provided by law [or if the person] is related to either the victim or the offender, including a husband, wife, parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, or other person related by consanguinity or affinity [or if the person] fails to report based on a reasonable fear for his or her own|