What Is Child Abuse And Neglect
Most people believe that child abuse and neglect are the same types of crime. While there are similarities, there are important differences as well, one being in the way that each action is punished. Most states see child abuse and neglect as a misdemeanor, but if you have kept a clean criminal background and are honest with the court system and department of social services, then you can sometimes receive the help that you need to change your actions. Child abuse is considered any action that harms the child or puts the child in harm’s way. Neglect is leaving the child alone for extended periods of time or not providing the basic amenities that a child needs to survive, such as food and clothing. These actions can be committed unintentionally, but most of the time, people who commit these actions do so willingly. This is one of the elements that the prosecution will need to prove when you go to court. Proof of intentionally abusing or neglecting the child must be present for you to be charged with even a misdemeanor.
When the court system looks at claims of child abuse, there are certain elements that often need to be present. Child abuse usually involves some type of physical, mental or emotional harm to the child by a parent, grandparent or another caretaker. Most states classify child abuse as an act that could put the child in danger, an act that affects a child under the age of 18, and an act that endangers the child’s welfare. Examples of child abuse range from hitting to sexual assault. Emotional abuse is also considered if someone is charged. Neglect is similar, but it’s often a charge that can be shown to be unintentional easier than child abuse. Sometimes, a parent might leave a child at home alone to go to work. There might not be enough food in the home with the parent not being able to get assistance to get food. These issues often result in the court system finding resources to offer assistance instead of the parent or caretaker being charged with neglect.
The age of the child, as well as the length of time that the abuse has taken place, are both considered when the court system looks at child abuse charges. The criminal history will also be examined when charges are brought forth in court before any sentencing occurs. If you are convicted of child abuse and neglect, then you could spend up to five years in jail depending on the circumstances involved. You could also lose custody of your children permanently or until you show the court that you have fulfilled requirements to gain custody back.
There are a few defenses that an attorney can offer to the court. One is that you had to leave your child alone to better yourself and your family. Abuse could be accidental or caused by other circumstances in a manner that is confused with intentional abuse. Other family members could commit the abuse without your knowledge.
An attorney can offer advice about what kind of defense should be used. Your attorney can also work with you to provide proof that the abuse was not committed intentionally. However, if the claims are validated, then your attorney can try to get the charges and sentence reduced so that you can get help instead of going to jail.