Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: May 13, 2009
Sen. Gary Stanislawski
New Law Will Help Better Protect Child Abuse Victims
Child abuse victims will be receiving help and protection
sooner under a new law signed this week. House Bill 1738, by Rep.
Ron Peters and Sen. Gary
Stanislawski, amends the Oklahoma Child Abuse Reporting and
Prevention Act to include “or other health care professional”
to the list of persons required to report suspected abuse or neglect
of a child.
“Currently, we have a problem because the
police and DHS have to file a subpoena in order to get medical
information about suspected child abuse from EMSA or other medical
workers,” said Peters, R-Tulsa. “It’s an unnecessary
formality that wastes time and places these children in further
danger. We need to ensure that law enforcement can get all the
information they need regarding suspected child abuse from the
health professionals at the time the victim is being treated.”
Health professionals will now be required to provide
copies of the examination on which the report of child abuse or
neglect was based along with other relevant records to law enforcement
and the Department of Human Services.
“This new law will increase the efficiency
and ability of law enforcement and child welfare investigators
to obtain the vital medical information and evidence they need
to investigate child abuse and deaths,” said Stanislawski,
R-Tulsa. “Any delay in the availability of 911 calls and
paramedics’ reports degrades the quality of the scene investigation
as well as the initial interviews with witnesses and suspects
which may affect the ability to obtain sufficient evidence to
successfully prosecute child abusers.”
OKDHS received 65,493 reports of child abuse on
families in FY’ 2008 and investigated or assessed 61,327.
They found 11,714 cases of confirmed child abuse, which was 19
percent of the investigated and assessed cases. In 2008, 32 Oklahoma
children died as a result of child abuse.
For more information contact:
Sen. Stanislawski's Office - 405-521-5624