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This bill would make it a Class A misdemeanor for any person to knowingly make a false report of child abuse.
False reports of child abuse cause innocent families to be placed under suspicion and investigated by the Department of Human Services (DHS). These families often face demands to open up their home for inspection or allow their children to be questioned by Child Protective Services (CPS) workers for something they haven't done.
These false reports take up the time and effort of CPS workers trying to do their job and investigate allegations of abuse. Currently, 31 states have some type of penalty for making a false report of child abuse and/or neglect.
No action required.
4/13/2011 House Judiciary Committee
4/19/2011 Public Hearing held
4/20/2011 Work Session held
4/20/2011 Sent to House Floor
5/02/2011 Second reading on House Floor
5/03/2011 Third reading on House Floor
5/25/2011 Public Hearing and Work Session scheduled in the Senate
6/20/2011 House Passed Bill/Senate Passed Bill
7/06/2011 Governor signed
House Bill 2183 would make it illegal to make a false report of child abuse to the Department of Human Service or a law enforcement officer, knowing that the report is false. A person would also be guilty if they knowingly made the false report to a public or private official, as defined under the mandatory reporting law in Oregon, with the intent to have that official make a report to DHS or a law enforcement agency.
A person convicted of a Class A misdemeanor could be punished by a maximum of one year in prison, a $6,250 fine, or both.
According the DHS, 67,885 allegations of abuse and neglect were made in 2009. Of those allegations, only 28,584 actually were investigated.
Of the allegations actually investigated, 21,344 were found to be unfounded or listed as unable to determine. While Oregon doesn't have a category for "false" reports, these numbers mean that nearly 75% of the reports investigated were not found to be true. Almost 90% of all reports made in 2009 were either not investigated because they didn't meet the threshold of abuse/neglect or they were found to be untrue.
See the annual reports on abuse and neglect statistics in Oregon online.
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