New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill Wednesday that requires the state’s school coaches to report cases of suspected child abuse to the local police and complete training on how to identify it, according to the New York Daily News.
The bill was introduced by New York Assemblywoman Amy Paulin after she witnessed the fallout from the Sandusky scandal, according to the paper.
“When that happened I started thinking through the role of coaches with kids,” Paulin said. “…Coaches are in a unique position of trust with their players, and this law will ensure that if a child confides in their coach or the coach observes signs of abuse, they will report it to the authorities. This will help protect children from abuse.”
Under the new law, coaches who hold or had applied for a temporary or permanent coaches’ license will have to complete two hours of training on “how to identify and report signs of child abuse and maltreatment.”
“This legislation is another step forward in New York’s fight against child abuse,” Cuomo said. “With the proper training, and the clear mandate to report suspected instances of abuse, school coaches will play a crucial role in keeping our children safe and out of harm’s way.”
The Sandusky scandal also generated sweeping legislative change in Pennsylvania, though it wasn’t exactly quick, according to PennLive. In April, four bills were signed by Gov. Tom Corbett, one of which enacted 14 different categories of mandated reporters, from school workers to those involved with boy scouts. The rest of the laws go into effect on the last day of the year — one requires reports to be filed with the state’s ChildLine hotline, so that one must go outside of their own organization to make a report. Had that law been in effect in 2001, Mike McQueary’s report of the 2001 Lasch Building shower incident would have had to go to an outside agency. Of course, had the New York law been in effect, he would have had to go directly to police.
Furthermore, one’s duty to report can be created by either a first-hand or second-hand witness or account of abuse. Finally, employees who do report child abuse are promised immunity from employment discrimination.
Corbett also signed bills that increase funding for Children’s Advocacy Centers and create a database for child abuse reporting. In 2013, he signed ten bills that broadened the definitions of child abuse and those responsible for the welfare of children.