1. WHO MUST REPORT CHILD ABUSE?
By law, any person who reasonably suspects that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect must report this information immediately to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (formerly DYFS), at (877)-NJABUSE (877-652-2873).
2. ARE CHILDREN REQUIRED TO TESTIFY IN COURT?
Although the courts have made certain provisions in order to make the presentation of child abuse cases easier on the victims, in most cases the child victim will be required to testify personally in the courtroom. However, the ultimate decision on whether child victim testimony will be required is determined on a case by case basis.
3. WHAT IS DCP&P (FORMERLY DYFS)?
The Division of Child Protection and Permanency is the agency created by the State concerned with the welfare of children. In many child abuse cases, especially those involving family members, DCP&P will conduct an investigation cooperatively with the law enforcement authorities in order to ensure a child’s future safety.
4. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CHILD ABUSE IS REPORTED?
When they become aware of a report of child abuse or neglect, law enforcement officials and DCP&P workers coordinate with the specialized detectives of the Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit of the Prosecutor’s Office to assure the most appropriate response for the child. This often involves an interview of the child by one of those specialized detectives at the Bergen County Child Advocacy Center, a child-focused environment designed to reduce the trauma to child abuse victims and their families often created when a child discloses sexual abuse, physical abuse or neglect. After the investigation, a specialized Assistant Prosecutor experienced in this type of case is assigned to determine the most appropriate response in the criminal justice system.