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Beach Bill to Require Sexual Abuse of Children be Reported to Law Enforcement Advances

Senator James Beach addresses his new colleagues in the Legislature.

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator James Beach and Senator Christopher Bateman that would require that sexual abuse of a child be reported to law enforcement passed the Senate Education Committee today.

“One of the most heinous crimes, sexual abuse of a child, often goes undetected due to the nature of the crime,” said Senator Beach (D-Burlington/Camden). “This bill will help ensure that when someone suspects that a child is a victim of sexual abuse it will be immediately reported and investigated.”

The bill, S-641, would require that when someone has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been sexually abused, they immediately report that abuse to law enforcement. Failure to report would be a fourth degree crime, carrying up to 18 months imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

Under current law, suspected child abuse, including sexual abuse, is reported to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, and failure to report is considered a disorderly person’s offense. The offense carries up to 6 months imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

This bill cleared committee today by a vote of 5-0, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.