Saturday, October 26, 2013

What is Worse? Not Reporting OR Falsely Reporting Abuse

So can you choose from 1 or 2 below?:
1)Not reporting Abuse
2)Falsely reporting Abuse

Please note there are State Statute penalties for both.
Actually the Index of State Statute Summaries has them grouped together. In a way, they are related.. But in Reality Are they Really?:

Penalties for Failure to Report and False Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect: Summary of State Laws

Many cases of child abuse and neglect are not reported, even when mandated by law. Therefore, nearly every State and U.S. territory imposes penalties, often in the form of a fine or imprisonment, on mandatory reporters who fail to report suspected child abuse or neglect as required by law.

Approximately 47 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands impose penalties on mandatory reporters who knowingly or willfully fail to make a report when they suspect that a child is being abused or neglected.2 In Florida, a mandatory reporter who fails to report as required by law can be charged with a felony. Failure to report is classified as a misdemeanor or a similar charge in 38 States and American Samoa, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.3 In Arizona and Minnesota, misdemeanors are upgraded to felonies for failure to report more serious situations, while in Illinois and Guam, second or subsequent violations are classified as felonies.

 In addition, to prevent malicious or intentional reporting of cases that are not founded, many States and the U.S. Virgin Islands impose penalties against any person who files a report known to be false.

 Approximately 29 States carry penalties in their civil child protection laws for any person who willfully or intentionally makes a report of child abuse or neglect that the reporter knows to be false.7 In New York, Ohio, and the Virgin Islands, making false reports of child maltreatment is made illegal in criminal sections of State code.

Nineteen States and the Virgin Islands classify false reporting as a misdemeanor or similar charge.8 In Florida, Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas, false reporting is a felony, while in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Virginia, second or subsequent offenses are upgraded to felonies. In Michigan, false reporting can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the seriousness of the alleged abuse in the report. No criminal penalties are imposed in California, Maine, Montana, Minnesota, and Nebraska; however, immunity from civil or criminal action that is provided to reporters of abuse or neglect is not extended to those who make a false report.

Eleven States and the Virgin Islands specify the penalties for making a false report. Upon conviction, the reporter can face jail terms ranging from 90 days to 5 years or fines ranging from $500 to $5,000. Florida imposes the most severe penalties: In addition to a court sentence of 5 years and $5,000, the Department of Children and Family Services may fine the reporter up to $10,000. In six States, the reporter may be civilly liable for any damages caused by the report.
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Actually, Texas didn't take it too kindly of False Reporting as shown in this recent article:

UPDATE: More information on arrest of CPS workers:
All three arrested have posted bail

"..All charges are third degree felonies, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from two to 20 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.,,"

Sooooo, What do you think? 1 or 2
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Note: When you click on View, this is introductory information comparing states. To see the State Statute Summaries, you need to Download the PDF file. (Note: Will be taken directly to Agency page and dates of updates may be newer than shown on this page.)
Latest State Series Catalogue Index is July 2013.-- (HTML Page) (PDF)

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Related Reading: "Child Protection at the Crossroads:Child Abuse, Child Protection, and Recommendations for Reform"
(Download File)

  • Excerpt from this publication as a Recommendation: 

  Repeal mandatory reporting laws that are in effect in all the states. Mandatory reporting laws, designed to encourage those who work with children to report incidents of maltreatment, have had two negative effects. 

  • First, they encourage unnecessary reporting because professionals must report all of their suspicions under threat of prosecution. While such prosecutions are rare, one shouldn’t have to report suspicions. Reporting should be restricted to more concrete evidence of a crime. 

    Second, mandatory reporting discourages fellow citizens from taking positive neighborhood action with families in trouble. Citizens tend to consider that their responsibilities have been met when they call an anonymous hotline, because that is what the law tells them to do. Knocking on the door and offering help to a family, which is troubled, but not engaged in criminal behavior, may be the more appropriate alternative.



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