Child Abuse Lawyers

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What Constitutes Child Abuse?

Child abuse includes physical and emotional injuries, sexual abuse or exploitation and neglect. It encompasses both actions and inaction on the part of the responsible person. The legal age of a child varies from state to state, but is generally either under 16 or under 18. Child abuse can result in criminal prosecution as well as civil penalties.

Physical Abuse
Generally, spanking that is reasonable and age appropriate and does not expose the child to risk or serious injury, is not considered an abuse in the United States; however it is in 11 European countries.

If discipline is excessive and forceful enough to leave injuries, physical abuse has occurred. The use of instruments increases the likelihood of injuries. Physical abuse can include:

Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that affects a child's emotional development and sense of self-worth. It can include:

Neglect
Neglect is a failure to provide for a child's basic needs. It can include:

Being Accused of Child Abuse?

Criminal Proceedings: If you are accused of child abuse, you may be arrested and convicted. Consequences are dependent upon the severity of the abuse, any prior similar convictions, whether you are currently on probation or parole, and the number of instances of child abuse. Those convicted face:

Civil Proceedings: You can also be held civilly liable to the victim in a private lawsuit, if this happens then you may be liable to pay the victim money based on:

What Can You Do if You are Accused of Child Abuse?

If you are accused of child abuse, you should speak to a lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system.

Victims of Child Abuse

If you are a victim of child abuse, you should call the police. If there is sufficient evidence, the police will then forward your case to the District Attorney's office to prosecute the person who committed the child abuse against you.

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Last Modified: 07-20-2011 01:26 PM PDT

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