Senate passes DiMario bill to address child abuse in military families, ensure reporting to authorities

 

STATE HOUSE — The Senate today passed legislation introduced by Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown) that would address child abuse and neglect in military families.

The bill (2021-S 0734) would require the Department of Children, Youth and Families to determine the military status of the parents of any abused child and report the matter to the appropriate military authorities, including the Military Family Advocacy Program.

“We have more than 2,200 children of active duty military personnel in Rhode Island, and over 2,700 children of National Guard and Reserve members,” said Senator DiMario. “This bill would codify into law a process that has already begun happening through a memorandum of understanding between DCYF and the military community. This is another step in making sure that children who are victims of sexual abuse and their families have all the support that is available in the systems that surround them as well as assuring accountability of perpetrators.”

The Family Advocacy Program was established by the Department of Defense to address domestic abuse, child abuse and neglect, and problematic sexual behavior in children and youth.

The program is delivered through military services who work in coordination with civilian agencies to prevent abuse, encourage early identification and prompt reporting, promote victim safety and empowerment, and provide appropriate treatment for affected service members and their families.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2021-H 6235) has been introduced by Rep. Julie Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter).

 

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