In simple terms, child abuse is when a parent of a child or the caregiver of a child commits an action that results in emotional or physical harm or death. There are several types of child abuse, some that are intentional while others are committed without intent according to Childhelp.
Physical abuse is the most common type of child abuse. It’s when the parent of caregiver harms the child in a manner that is intentional in most situations. If the physical abuse is not intentional, it can be difficult to prove in court. There are several signs that can be present if someone suspects physical abuse. Teachers and other people who are in positions of authority are required to report any suspicions of abuse to the proper authorities, such as a police officer or a local department of social services. This kind of abuse includes actions such as kicking, biting, burning, choking and even hair pulling. Anything that can be done to the child that would cause a physical injury falls into this category. Signs of physical abuse include bruises on the body, the child being withdrawn from family and friends and death if the abuse is severe. Parents or caregivers might not want to explain what happened to the child might delay taking the child to a doctor or hospital for treatment.
Sexual abuse is sometimes the worst kind of child abuse for the emotions of a child. The action takes place when an adult forces a child to take part in sexual acts. This can also involve an older child using a younger child for sexual gratification. Sex trafficking would also be included in this as well as exchanging sexual acts with the child for something received from another adult. An example would be if a parent forces a child to take part in sexual acts with another adult to get money or drugs. Many children who are sexually abused will shut down and not talk to anyone else or take part in any activities. The abuse could involve forcing the child to touch or show the sex organs or making the child perform a sexual act with or without any kind of penetration involved.
Emotional abuse involves the parent or caretaker harming the child’s mental development. There are several ways that this can occur, such as belittling the child, calling the child names or making the child feel worthless on a regular basis. This is often a pattern of behavior that only gets worse over time.
Child neglect is a form of abuse that could be deemed as intentional or unintentional depending on the circumstances. When a parent or caregiver knowingly leaves a child alone without proper food, water, clothing or shelter, then it’s considered neglect. It also involves not taking the child to a doctor or dentist on a regular basis or leaving children home alone while going out to take part in other activities with no supervision. Educational neglect is also an issue. This is when the parent or caregiver allows the child to miss school or simply doesn’t care whether the child attends classes or not, resulting in lower grades or even failing subjects. These are often signs that abuse is taking place, warranting a report from the teacher and an investigation from a social worker or police officer.
Once the defendant has been charged with any kind of child abuse, there are a few things that could happen. The person could be arrested and taken to jail, or there could be a report made that requires the person to go to court before any decision is made. Since this is a charge that could involve taking the child from the parent or caretaker and placing the child in foster care for some time, the judge will weigh the evidence as carefully as possible. Most of the time, witness statements are heavily factored into the decision that is made by the judge. According to FindLaw, there is a rather wide range of penalties that the defendant could face depending on the severity of the abuse, the criminal history of the defendant and state regulations. Child abuse can be charged as a felony if there are severe injuries or death. Sentence options can include a prison sentence up to five years, probation or a combination of the two. Most people have to register as a sex offender, the charges will remain on the criminal record, and there are times when the child is permanently removed from the home. Those who fail to report child abuse can also be found guilty and be required to pay fines or spend time in jail depending on the situation.
Defenses Of Child Abuse
Those who have been charged with child abuse need to seek the assistance of an attorney, such as those with Spodek Law Group. An attorney can assist with a defense that could include false allegations filed, injuries resulting from an accident or an injury occurring because of a health issue. Religious beliefs and mental illness are also common defenses to child abuse.