New Downey-Sponsored Law Raises Awareness of Child Abuse Hotline

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Joann Downey to require school districts to display the State’s child abuse hotline in schools was signed into law Friday by Governor Phil Murphy.

The new law (formerly 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 include directions for accessing the department’s website or social media platforms for more information on reporting abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

Under the law, the registry 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.

“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 measure was approved by the Assembly in May, 76-0, and by the Senate last June, 40-0.

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