Child abuse is a broad term that includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. While it varies between the states, a child is usually considered to be someone under 16 or 18 years old. Each state has their own laws defining child abuse.
Physical abuse can include the following:
Spanking is not generally considered abuse in the United States, as long as it is age appropriate and does not cause the child serious injury. However, if the discipline is extreme and forceful enough to cause the child injury, then it will be considered physical abuse.
Children cannot consent to sexual activity. Sexual abuse of a child does not always include physical action. Some examples of sexual abuse to a child are:
Emotional abuse can include the following:
If the pattern of negative behavior affects a child's emotional development and sense of self-worth, emotional abuse has occurred.
Neglect is when a parent, guardian or caregiver fails to provide for a child’s basic needs. Some examples are:
A person who commits child abuse can be prosecuted criminally or face civil penalties.
If you are accused of child abuse, you may be arrested and convicted of a crime. The consequences you may face depend on 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.
If you are convicted of child abuse, you could face any of the following:
A victim of child abuse may also sue you in a private civil lawsuit, where you may liable to pay the victim money. This is based upon the victim’s pain, suffering and medical expenses resulting from the abuse. Any prior similar convictions will also be considered.
If you are accused of child abuse, you should speak to a lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights and to determine your next steps.
If you believe that a child is being abused, then the first step is to call the police. The police will investigate, collect evidence, and send your case to the District Attorney’s office to prosecute the offender if there is sufficient evidence against them.
If you have been accused of child abuse but none of your actions fall under the above requirements for child abuse, then you should contact a local criminal lawyer today!
Last Modified: 02-01-2018 02:36 PM PSTLaw Library Disclaimer
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