Washington’s Child Abuse Legislation: Progressive or Overaggressive?

Robert J. Roche, Washington’s Child Abuse Legislation: Progressive or Overaggressive?, 23 Gonz L. Rev. 453 (1988)

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The nation’s response to this growing concern has been significant. Most state legislatures have reacted by enacting sweeping legislative reforms. Such initial reforms included mandatory reporting statutes, the creation of specialized child abuse agencies, and tougher criminal penalties. Like other states, Washington recognized
the problem and acted accordingly. Although the state’s proposed 1987 legislation reflected a reactionary solution to a complex problem, rather than a well-reasoned,
cautious, and sound statutory scheme, the legislature resisted the temptation for provisional problem-solving and constructed sound child abuse legislation. This comment will begin by examining the historical roots of the current trend toward stricter child abuse legislation. It will then discuss recent legislation enacted in response to this growing concern of child abuse, focussing mainly on the legislation’s civil impact, but also including, where relevant, its criminal ramifications. Finally, it will analyze how Washington’s legislature avoided the danger of becoming engulfed by the country’s current reactionary trend. . .

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