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Intended legislation may protect victims of domestic abuse

A member of the New York State Assembly recently announced his intention to file legislation that may reduce the alarming number of children's deaths resulting from domestic abuse. It will provide noncustodial caretakers of children with additional rights in an effort to allow timely action in cases where domestic abuse is suspected. It will also place additional responsibility on the custodial parent.

The intended legislation will require custodial parents to check on the criminal background of anybody in whose care a child will be left frequently. This will be accomplished through an online facility. If the records show any history of violence or child abuse, alcohol or substance abuse or other related convictions during the previous five years, that person may only be with the children in the presence of a Child Protective Services caseworker or the consent of both parents.

Because of the prevalence of false allegations by noncustodial parents, many complaints have been disregarded. If enacted into law, the new legislation will change that. Any evidence provided to Child Protection Services, even if it is vague images of bruises, will have to be reported to the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment Clearance System. No case will be closed until an investigation, including a home visit, is completed.

New York parents and other concerned parties who suspect domestic abuse by an individual retain the right to take legal action. Suspicions may be reported to authorities, and a consultation with a family law professional may provide legal remedies. Protective orders and other remedies focused on the health and well-being of any affected children are available through the court system.

Source: poughkeepsiejournal.com, "New legislation would relieve child safety concerns", Frank Skartados, Dec. 22, 2014

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