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According to the National’s Children Alliance, about 700, 000 children face abuse every year. In 2015, 683, 000 children were victims of neglect. In the same year, about 1600 children lost their lives from abuse and neglect. Children Advocacy Centers in the country dealt with more than 300, 000 cases related to abuse and neglect. The rate of child abuse is alarming, to say the least. If your child has suffered abuse, it is wise to report this immediately. Consulting with a family lawyer will also help you understand your options better. It is also important to understand what constitutes abuse:
In New York, child abuse is categorized as simple child abuse, aggravated child abuse and abuse through neglect. Simple abuse occurs when an individual:
• Intentionally inflicts physical or mental pain.
• Commits an act that can result in mental or physical injury to the child.
• Actively encourages another person to commit an act leading to mental or physical injury.
Aggravated abuse happens when a person:
• Commits a crime of aggravated battery.
• Maliciously punishes or willfully tortures a child.
• Unlawfully cages or confines a child.
• Willfully or knowingly causes bodily injury, permanent disfigurement or permanent disability to a child.
Neglect is defined as failure of a caregiver to provide the child with food, shelter, clothing, supervision and medical care. Failure to provide a child with education is also considered negligence.
Child Abuse Investigations in New York
In New York, the State Office of Children and Family Services is tasked with investigating child abuse allegations and maltreatment reports. Children under the age of 18 years are protected. Investigations are done to prevent further abuse and provide rehabilitation to both the parents and the children. The following are groups that are mandated by law to report child abuse or the threat of child abuse.
• School officials
• Medical personnel
• Child care workers
• Social service workers
• Law enforcement personnel
• Residential care workers
Failure to report child abuse can lead to job dismissal, especially for child workers.
Charges, Sentences, and Pleas
Child abuse cases can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the gravity of the offense. Serious cases of abuse carry life sentences and jail term. The courts will also factor in previous cases of child abuse activity. Repeated offenses attract more severe penalties. In most cases, parents or guardians that are charged with domestic violence lose their custody rights. They may have to go through a lengthy rehabilitation program and prove to the court that they have changed their ways. If you are fighting for a child custody after domestic violence, you need to engage the services of an experienced criminal lawyer.
If you are charged with domestic violence, you can choose to plead guilty, not guilty or enter a no contest plea. Sentencing may also include probation and a jail term. Other consequences and penalties for domestic violence include:
• Criminal record
• Termination of your parental rights
• Supervised access when visiting your children
• Actual loss of enjoyment of your child
• Ruined reputation in the event that you are registered as a child molester or offender.
• Regular involvement with child protective agencies
Abused children are at a greater risk of suffering depression and other mental issues. They are also more likely to engage in drug or alcohol abuse. Your child deserves justice, and a child abuse lawyer can help you.