Representative Davis has introduce a bill to move the duty to report neglect or abuse statute from the juvenile law title to the criminal title. This is consistent with the overall goal of the General Assembly to re-codify Title 35 of the Indiana Code which delineates penalties for certain various offenses and enforcement procedures.
House Bill 1086 affects the following citations: IC 16-34-2-1.1; IC 16-39-2-6; IC 31-9-2-133; IC 31-32-3-11; IC 31-33; IC 35-31.5-2; IC 35-42-6; IC 35-51-31-1. The synopsis is as follows:
Duty to report child abuse or neglect. Moves certain statutes concerning the duty to report child abuse to Title 35 of the Indiana Code governing criminal law and procedure. Defines "victim of child abuse or neglect" for purposes of the duty to report child abuse.
The duty to report child abuse or neglect is clearly defined by statute – A person who has a reason to believe that a child may be a victim of child abuse or neglect shall immediately make a verbal report to: the department of child services; or a local law enforcement agency.
I have made these reports on numerous occasions upon my suspicion that a child may be a victim of child abuse or neglect. The law doesn't require that I know of the abuse or neglect or that there actually be neglect but only that there may be abuse or neglect. The statute then defines the penalty – A person who knowingly fails to make a report required by section 4 of this chapter commits a Class B misdemeanor.
Criminal offenses are peppered throughout the Indiana Code which can make it quite difficult to ensure that your actions, or as in this matter – inaction, are a criminal offense. Title 3 Elections, Title 7.1 Alcohol and Tobacco, Title 9 motor Vehicles, Title 27 Insurance [ex 27-1-3-18] all have sections imposing criminal penalties. While some of these are particular to the specific industry, such as the insurance example, they should all be under Title 35 and could still be separated by sections. By placing all sections of law that establish a penalty under Title 35 it will be much simpler for all citizens to simply read Title 35 to ensure compliance, if they so choose. This legislation should be supported.
I still chuckle every time I hear someone utter the phrase, “I'm a law-abiding citizen”. Really?
If you suspect that your child may be being abused or neglected in his or her current custodial household and you would like to seek a modification or to gain custody then please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me.
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More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.
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