UNH Study: Many Unaware of Child Abuse Reporting Laws

Jul 22, 2016

A new survey from UNH finds that many adults in the state aren’t aware of their legal responsibility to report child abuse.

New Hampshire is one of 19 states with a so-called universal reporting law which requires every adult in the state to report child abuse if they become aware of it. Failing to report can result in a misdemeanor charge.

But a new study done by the Crimes against Children Research Center at UNH found that not everyone knows that. Wendy Walsh was the lead author.

“We found that a significant minority, 39 percent, of adults in New Hampshire were not aware of this universal reporting policy," explained Walsh. "And so that’s quite concerning that we have a policy but people don’t even know about it.”

71 percent of people surveyed were not aware the law does not require the child to be taken out of the home immediately if abuse is reported.