Charleston, WV - The West Virginia Senate passed a bill today aimed at promoting adult responsibility in protecting children from abuse and neglect. Senate Majority Leader John Unger II (D - Berkeley) co-sponsored the bill, which was sent to the House of Delegates.
Senate Bill 161 requires anyone 18 years or older who observes or knows of the sexual abuse or assault of a child to report it to the State Police within 48 hours of discovery. In addition to adding administrators, employees and volunteers of organizations that offer programs for children to the list of persons required to report child abuse and neglect, the bill also establishes training for them to recognize the signs of abuse.
“The abuse or neglect of any child is unacceptable,” says Senator Unger. “I hope this piece of legislation will ensure that every incident is reported so affected children can be removed from harmful situations.”
The penalties for failure to report suspected abuse or neglect of children would be increased under the new law. The maximum prison sentence is extended from 10 to 30 days and the fine raised from $100 to $1,000.