New York City Abuse & Neglect Lawyer
Child abuse and neglect is a tragic event that leaves children emotionally and physically devastated. Many children do not know when they are being abused and may not even report any of these incidences. In most cases, adults are charged with the responsibility of identifying abuse and neglect and reporting it to the authorities. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about child abuse and neglect and how a lawyer can help.
What Constitutes Child Abuse
Child abuse is anything that endangers a child’s physical and emotional health. Child abuse is classified as physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Physical abuse is any action that causes non-accidental injury to a child including kicking, hitting, scratching, and any kind of bodily harm. Emotional abuse is any attitude or behavior displayed by the abuser that has a negative impact on a child’s social development and mental status. This can include actions such as yelling, vulgar language, making fun of, degrading, or insulting a child. Sexual abuse is any sexual act between an adult and a child. It can include showing sexual videos, pictures, or games to a child, forcing a child to witness sexual acts, or any other lewd behavior.
On the other hand child neglect is when a caretaker fails to provide a child with the necessary requirements for their physical needs or development. Some typical examples of neglect include:
Negligent medical care
· Improper supervision
· Poor hygiene
· Failure to provide enough food and clothing
· Unsafe housing
Who is Mandated to Report Child Abuse?
The following people are mandated by law to report child abuse:
· Child care workers
· School officials
· Hospital personnel
· Law enforcement personnel
· Volunteers and residential care workers
Who Deals With Child Abuse Allegations and Investigations in New York?
In New York, the “State Office of Children and Family Services” is in charge of investigating child abuse reports and protecting children from further maltreatment and abuse. The agency is also supposed to offer rehabilitative services to children and their parents.
Elements of a Child Abuse Charge
For a person to be charged with child abuse the following elements must be satisfied:
· The act (or failure to act) must result in serious harm or imminent risk to the welfare and health of a child because of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
· The incident must involve a child who is below 18 years of age
· The incident must be perpetrated by a caregiver or parent who is charged with taking care of the child
In many states, the harm needs to be inflicted through non-accidental means. This includes careless, intentional, and negligent acts. Furthermore, the harm inflicted should not necessarily be actual. It may include risks of imminent harm or threats.
Penalties for Child Abuse
The penalties for child abuse vary depending on the severity of the case. They include:
· Requirement to be registered as a child sexual offender
· Ruined reputation
· Supervised access to one’s child
· Termination of parental rights
· Continual involvement with child protective services
· Actual or physical loss of a child
If you are a witness to a child abuse incident, you need to consult a child abuse and neglect lawyer. An experienced lawyer will help you file an abuse report with the child protective services. Your attorney will also liaise with the child protective services to investigate the incident and to press charges against the abuser.