Child abuse cases usually go unreported because of their complexity and the circumstances. Sentencing can be difficult in cases where the abuse occurs within a family. This has huge ramifications because it can break social relationships and even family ties. Victims will be reluctant to talk about this if there is a possibility that the case will be publicized. People will try to deal with the issue most of the time because they fear the stigma that will arise if other parties are involved.
Child abuse is considered to be a serious offense by the law. The terms of the sentence and the penalties that one will face will depend on several factors. These include the age of the child, criminal history, the injury that the child sustained, and whether there was any sexual abuse.
A child abuse case will be charged as a felony or a gross offense. This depends on the circumstances. The case will carry a lifetime sentence if the offense is serious. Less serious cases are usually termed as gross misdemeanors and might not carry a prison sentence.
The criminal record of the offender plays a huge part in the nature of the punishment. The severity of the punishment increases if the offender has a record of criminal child abuse in the past. It will be reduced if one does not have a prior record of this activity.
One has three options in case they get sentenced. They can either plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty. One will be given a prison term of around five years or set on probation most of the time. The length of the prison term will be longer if the case is serious.
One might also be forced to register as a child sexual offender. This is usually a lifetime requirement. One’s name will be present as long as they are alive. Another penalty could be the termination of parental rights. This means that the offender will cease to act as the parent of the child and will not be considered as such by the law.
Your access to the child could be supervised. The offender will not be allowed to see the child or be alone with them in the absence of an approved party. These rights might be taken away altogether if the case is very severe. The offender will not be allowed to see them in any case.
The offender will be forced to go through a proxy in order for them to get to the child. This includes a child protective services agency in most cases. They will review your condition and capability to make sure that they will not be of any harm to the child.
Failure to Report
Some states have mandatory reporting laws that state that one must report any child neglect or abuse case. They apply to individuals that are in a position to discover this including teachers and medical staff. One will be charged with a misdemeanor that could result in jail time or fines if they fail to do so.
This is one of the most common defenses against these kinds of charges. This is because false accusations happen many times when there are ulterior motives. They are more likely to happen in cases where the parents do not agree or are involved in a child custody battle. It is very hard to prove that an allegation is false. The best strategy is to show proof that it is false and point to incidents that would disprove the testimony of the accuser.
Injury was caused by Accident
Child abuse laws do not apply in most states. An example of a relatable accident is when you are teaching your child how to ride a bike, and they fall off and get hurt. The accused could use this as a defense if the injuries were sustained during an accident. The cases become complex in courts if the parent is found to have acted with negligence. The severity of the outcome might outweigh the accidental part if a parent accidentally leaves a baby in the car.
Right to discipline of the parent
It is important to note that a parent is allowed to discipline a child in any manner as long as it does not cause any harm to the body. The mode of disciplining the child has to be reasonable because this is usually the basis of many child abuse cases. Spanking is a contention point with supporters from both sides. The important thing to remember is that one can defend themselves by pointing to the fact that there were no injuries.
A parent can claim exemption to child abuse by backing up their defense with their religious belief. There have been cases of neglect that are caused by a parent’s failure to take their child to be immunized in recent years.
It is important to note that some parents choose to pray instead of seeking medical attention. The religious exemption is accepted as a defense in various states.
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