Downey Bill to Require School Districts to Display Child Abuse Hotline Information in Schools Clears Assembly Panel

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(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gabriela Mosquera. Patricia Egan Jones, Jamel Holley, Angela McKnight and Joann Downey to require school districts to display the state's child abuse hotline in schools was released Thursday by an Assembly panel. 

"The #MeToo movement has demonstrated how difficult it can be for even adult victims to report abuse," said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). "Children who are experiencing abuse may not how to ask, or where to turn for help. Having this information prominently displayed in schools can help empower these children to report the abuse and bring their perpetrators to justice."

"Reporting abuse is not easy, especially when it is being inflicted by someone they thought they could trust," said Downey (D-Monmouth). "Children need to know that this is wrong, and that there are entire resources dedicated to helping them. Posting this information in schools can help drive that message home."

The bill (A-425) would require a board of education to prominently display information about the Department of Children and Families' State Central Registry - a toll free hotline for reporting child abuse - in all district schools. The information must give instructions to call 911 for emergencies and must include directions for accessing the department's website or social media platforms for more information on reporting abuse, neglect, and exploitation. 

Under the bill, the information is required to be in a format and language that is clear, simple, and understandable. The information must be on a poster and displayed at each school in at least one high-traffic, highly and clearly visible public area that is readily accessible to and widely used by students.

The bill was released by the Assembly Education Committee. 

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