We’ve all heard nightmares about families being put through hell over false claims of child abuse from an angry spouse, ex-spouse, neighbor or disgruntled family member. It’s a very serious way to upturn somebody’s life, but legislators in New Jersey say enough is enough.
False child abuse claims not only ruin the lives of those around them, but also negatively impact children. Lawmakers in New Jersey are seeking to impose severe penalties against those who play the system in order to open false claims against a rival.
The proposed law states:
- a. A person who knowingly or willfully makes or causes to be made a report of child abuse or neglect pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1971, c.437 (C.9:6-8.10) knowing the report to be false is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
- In addition to any other penalty or fine imposed by the court, a person convicted under the provisions of this act shall be assessed a civil penalty of up to $10,000 payable to the Treasurer of the State of New Jersey for use by the Department of Children and Families.
- This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill makes it a crime of the third degree to knowingly or willfully make a false report of child abuse. A crime of the third degree is ordinarily punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to five years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.
Also, the bill permits the assessment of an additional civil penalty of up to $10,000, payable to the State Treasurer for use by the Department of Children and Families.