What Happens if I Fail to Report Child Abuse?

The Ramifications of Not Reporting

We all have an unspoken societal duty to protect those who are unable to protect themselves, such as children. Sometimes this duty to protect is mandated by law. In New Jersey, you have a legal duty to report child abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, many cases of child abuse and neglect go unreported each year. People who witness abuse or neglect may be afraid of what happens once they make a report, worry that they will get in trouble, or maybe are unsure if a certain action or behavior is worth reporting. Failing to report child abuse is against the law and could result in criminal charges or a civil action being brought against you.

Different people will face difference consequences for failing to report child abuse. Certain people are considered mandatory reporters. This means they have a greater duty to report child abuse and may face harsh penalties if they fail to do so. Mandatory reporters are typically people like teachers, doctors, and counselors. Mandatory reporters can face misdemeanor charges with harsh sentences if they fail to report abuse or neglect. They may also lose their professional licensure. In New Jersey, all those who knowingly fail to report child abuse will be considered a disorderly person and could face criminal charges, punishable by a fine and even jail time.

You must report any and all instances of child abuse or neglect to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) immediately if you have reasonable cause to believe a child was or is subject to abuse or neglect. The report should include details such as the name and whereabouts of the child and alleged abuser if possible. If you make a true report in good faith, you are immune from any criminal or civil liability associated with the report.

If you are unsure if you should report child abuse or neglect, consult with an experienced New Jersey child welfare attorney. It is important to be able to identify instances of child abuse or neglect and report them to the right authorities to avoid any civil or criminal liability. After you make a report a number of events could happen. If you are concerned about the ramifications of reporting child abuse, speak with an attorney about your rights and responsibilities and whom you should contact to make a report.

Do you have questions about child abuse reporting? Williams Law Group, LLC can assist you with taking the right steps to ensure your child is protected. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

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