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Does mandatory reporting of child abuse help or hurt? A Colorado task force is taking a second look.

Advocates for survivors of violence also objected. Elizabeth Newman, public policy director for the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, told legislators at the March hearing that the organization supported mandatory reporting, but that “there are cases where mandatory reporting laws can be harmful.”

Many survivors of sexual assault say they were first victimized between the ages of 11 and 17, Newman said. Most don’t want to report to law enforcement. Laws requiring teachers, therapists or other trusted adults to make an immediate report can become another reason for teens and adolescents to stay silent, and not to seek support at all, she said.

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