Enacts provisions relating to the reporting of child abuse; requires immediate reporting of certain actions by certain persons and officials; failure to report is a class A misdemeanor.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation to the reporting of child abuse
PURPOSE: The bill adds a new definition of abused child, to include children who have allegedly been criminally abused by a person who holds or is perceived to hold a position of authority. These allegations shall be reported to law enforcement for investigation.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Sections 1 amends Article 6 of the Social Services Law by adding a new Article 6-B to expand the mandated reporting of allegations of abuse against children;
Section 429(a) of Title 6-B requires persons and officials required to report cases of suspected child abuse to the appropriate law enforcement agency when the age difference between the child victim and alleged abuser meets certain criteria or the form of abuse contains specific enumerated factors. Additionally, the bill enumerates elements of abuse to be reported to law enforcement when a child is abused by an adult who supervises or has a position of authority, or is perceived by such child to hold authority.
Paragraph (b) sets forth enumerated conduct defined as child abuse under this Article;
Paragraph (c), defines "law enforcement authority";
Subdivision 2 provides the procedure to be followed when a report to law enforcement is required;
Section 429-b provides that failure to report under Title 6-B shall be a class A misdemeanor;
Section 429-c provides that persons who make allegations in good faith shall have immunity from civil and criminal liability;
Section 2 directs the Commissioner of the Office of Children and Family Services to revise the current form used to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment to make it appropriate for reporting to law enforcement agencies.
Section 3 provides that this act shall take effect 60 days after becoming law.
EXISTING LAW: Mandated reporters are required to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment when, in their official or professional role, they are presented with a reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or maltreatment.
Recent headlines have drawn attention to the growing concern of under-reporting of child abuse throughout our nation and the tragic consequences that result. According to recent statistics, one of every four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18; 20 percent of child sexual abuse victims are under the age of 8; and 90 percent of all child victims of sexual abuse are abused by someone they know and trust. New York has set up a system for specified mandated individuals to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment. This system, however, is constrained by the Family Court Act which defines an abused child as "a childless than eighteen years of age whose parent or other person legally responsible for his care" commits certain delineated acts. As a result of this language, mandated reporters are only required to report suspected instances of child abuse in a domestic setting. This bill will amend the mandatory reporting section of the Social Services Law to construct a system for these individuals to use for reporting suspected abuse by a person in a position of authority or perceived authority to appropriate law enforcement. This reporting will identify more unreported/under-reported cases in our communities and establish another investigative tool for law enforcement.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect 60 days after becoming law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6048 IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 4, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. SALAND -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Children and Families AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to the reporting of child abuse THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Article 6 of the social services law is amended by adding a new title 6-B to read as follows: TITLE 6-B REPORTS OF CHILD ABUSE TO LAW ENFORCEMENT SECTION 429-A. PERSONS AND OFFICIALS REQUIRED TO REPORT CASES OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE TO APPROPRIATE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY. 429-B. PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO REPORT. 429-C. IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY. S 429-A. PERSONS AND OFFICIALS REQUIRED TO REPORT CASES OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE TO APPROPRIATE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY. 1. (A) THOSE PERSONS AND OFFICIALS SET FORTH IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION FOUR HUNDRED THIR- TEEN OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE REQUIRED TO REPORT OR CAUSE A REPORT TO BE MADE TO AN APPROPRIATE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY WHEN THEY HAVE REASONABLE CAUSE TO SUSPECT IN THEIR PROFESSIONAL OR OFFICIAL CAPACITY THAT: (I) A PERSON BEING NINETEEN YEARS OLD OR MORE HAS ENGAGED IN CONDUCT SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH (B) OF THIS SUBDIVISION WITH A PERSON LESS THAN FOURTEEN YEARS OLD; OR (II) A PERSON BEING TWENTY-ONE YEARS OLD OR MORE HAS ENGAGED IN CONDUCT SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH (B) OF THIS SUBDIVISION WITH A PERSON LESS THAN SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD AND THE PERSON BEING TWENTY-ONE YEARS OLD OR MORE HAS AUTHORITY, PERCEIVED AUTHORITY, SUPERVISORY OR DISCIPLINARY POWER OVER THE PERSON LESS THAN SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD BY VIRTUE OF HIS OR HER LEGAL, PROFESSIONAL, OCCUPATIONAL OR VOCATIONAL STATUS; OR (III) A PERSON HAS ENGAGED IN CONDUCT SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH (B) OF THIS SUBDIVISION WITH A PERSON UNDER TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE WHO HAS A HANDICAPPING CONDITION, AS DEFINED IN SECTION FORTY-FOUR HUNDREDEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD01824-06-1 S. 6048 2
ONE OF THE EDUCATION LAW AND WHO IS ENTITLED TO RESIDENTIAL CARE DUE TO SUCH HANDICAPPING CONDITION. (B) THE FOLLOWING CONDUCT, IF COMMITTED BY A PERSON DEFINED IN PARA- GRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL, FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, CONSTITUTE "CHILD ABUSE" AND SHALL REQUIRE A REPORT: (I) INTENTIONALLY OR RECKLESSLY INFLICTING PHYSICAL INJURY, SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY OR DEATH, OR (II) INTENTIONALLY OR RECKLESSLY ENGAGING IN CONDUCT WHICH CREATES A SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF SUCH PHYSICAL INJURY, SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY OR DEATH, OR (III) COMMITTING OR ATTEMPTING TO COMMIT AGAINST A CHILD THE CRIME OF DISSEMINATING INDECENT MATERIALS TO MINORS PURSUANT TO ARTICLE TWO HUNDRED THIRTY-FIVE OF THE PENAL LAW, OR (IV) ENGAGING IN ANY CONDUCT PROHIBITED BY ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED THIRTY OR TWO HUNDRED SIXTY-THREE OF THE PENAL LAW. (C) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION THE TERM "LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHOR- ITIES" SHALL MEAN A MUNICIPAL POLICE DEPARTMENT, SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, THE DIVISION OF STATE POLICE OR ANY OFFICER THEREOF OR A DISTRICT ATTOR- NEY OR ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES SHALL NOT INCLUDE ANY CHILD PROTEC- TIVE SERVICE OR ANY SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO CHILDREN AS SUCH TERMS ARE DEFINED IN SECTION FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE OF THIS ARTICLE. 2. REPORTS OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE SHALL BE MADE IMMEDIATELY BY TELE- PHONE OR BY TELEPHONE FACSIMILE ON A FORM SUPPLIED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES TO AN APPROPRIATE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY. SUCH TELEPHONE REPORTS SHALL BE FOLLOWED BY A REPORT IN WRITING WITHIN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER SUCH ORAL REPORT. THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE TWENTY-THREE-B OF THE EDUCATION LAW SHALL APPLY WHEN ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE OR MALTREATMENT BY AN EMPLOYEE OR VOLUNTEER UNDER SUCH ARTICLE ARE MADE IN AN EDUCATIONAL SETTING. NOTHING IN THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL REQUIRE A PERSON OR OFFICIAL REQUIRED TO REPORT CASES OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE TO ADDITIONALLY NOTIFY THE STATEWIDE REGISTER OF CHILD ABUSE AND MALTREATMENT UNLESS THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE VICTIM TO THE ALLEGED PERPETRATOR IS IN DOUBT. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY SHALL NOT INCLUDE ANY CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICE OR ANY SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO CHIL- DREN AS SUCH TERMS ARE DEFINED IN SECTION FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE OF THIS ARTICLE. S 429-B. PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO REPORT. 1. ANY PERSON REQUIRED BY THIS TITLE TO REPORT A CASE OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE WHO WILLFULLY FAILS TO DO SO SHALL BE GUILTY OF A CLASS A MISDEMEANOR. 2. ANY PERSON REQUIRED BY THIS TITLE TO REPORT A CASE OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE WHO KNOWINGLY AND WILLFULLY FAILS TO DO SO SHALL BE CIVILLY LIABLE FOR THE DAMAGES PROXIMATELY CAUSED BY SUCH FAILURE. S 429-C. IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY. 1. ANY PERSON WHO IN GOOD FAITH MAKES A REPORT OF ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE AS REQUIRED BY THIS TITLE, INCLUDING THOSE WHO IN GOOD FAITH MAKE A REPORT TO THE WRONG RECIPIENT, SHALL HAVE IMMUNITY FROM CRIMINAL LIABILITY WHICH MIGHT OTHERWISE RESULT BY REASON OF SUCH ACTIONS. 2. ANY PERSON WHO REASONABLY AND IN GOOD FAITH MAKES A REPORT OF ALLE- GATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE AS REQUIRED BY THIS TITLE, SHALL HAVE IMMUNITY FROM CIVIL LIABILITY WHICH MIGHT OTHERWISE RESULT BY REASON OF SUCH ACTIONS. S 2. The commissioner of the office of children and family services shall review the reporting form used to report suspected child abuseS. 6048 3
pursuant to section 429-a of the social services law and, if necessary, shall revise such form to make it appropriate for reporting to law enforcement agencies. S 3. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have become a law.