Abuse reports involving students remain high after 2016 law

November 5, 2019

PROVIDENCE, R.l. (AP) — Child abuse and neglect reports from Providence students have stayed high since Rhode Island passed a mandatory reporting law in 2016.

WPRI-TV reports the state Department of Children, Youth and Families found evidence of abuse or neglect in 128 reports in 2016 compared to 56 a year earlier. There were more than 400 such reports in each of the following two years.

The law requires school employees to report any knowledge of sexual abuse to DCYF within 24 hours.

Lawmakers say the numbers mean abuse is being reported that may not have been in the past.

Others say the law has created confusion, leading to overreporting and making it harder for authorities to sift through reports.

Police charged 32 people for child abuse last year, a 45% increase since 2015.