Child abuse and neglect are two of the most serious and concerning types of cases currently plaguing the Family Court system. Instances of neglect and abuse can have a lasting impact on children, often resulting in mental, emotional, and behavioral issues that may continue on into adulthood.
Child abuse and child neglect are two vastly different beasts, each with their own definition and things to look out for. Considering the fact that abuse and neglect cases can help determine child custody, it is important to know the difference between these sensitive and crucial court actions.
Physical Child Abuse
There are two forms of child abuse: physical, and sexual. Physical abuse occurs when a parent or caretaker purposefully allows some form of physical harm to be inflicted onto a minor. Actions or instances that can be defined as physical abuse include, but are not limited to:
- Biting the minor child
- Choking the victim
- Violently shaking a child
- Punching, kicking, or beating of a minor
- Inflicting a burn, or attempting to burn, a child
It is important to note that a parent, guardian, or caretaker can be accused of physical child abuse if they create an environment that would allow a minor to be subject to a dangerous situation. So, while a parent may have never harmed their child, they are still at risk of having to defend themselves against abuse accusations if they knowingly and willingly placed their child in an unsafe situation that resulted in injury or harm.
Sexual Abuse of a Child
Sexual abuse of a child is defined by the following actions:
- Rape, statutory rape
- Incest between the child and a family member
- Grouping and touching of a child
- Sexual exploitation, such as prostitution
- Producing pornographic materials involving a minor
Allegations of sexual abuse are taken very seriously in the judicial system. Extensive investigations will be conducted, including physical and mental examinations. Depending on whether or not the accusations are found to be true, the defendant may lose the right to have contact with the child.
Child neglect differs from abuse, but the consequences of being found guilty of neglect can be just dire. Child neglect can be broken down into four main categories: physical, emotional, educational, and medical. While there are many ways to neglect a child, some of most common include:
- Abandoning or deserting a child
- Failing to provide adequately for a child’s well-being (food, water, weather appropriate clothing, proper personal hygiene)
- Leaving a child an unsafe environment without sufficient care, or unsupervised
- Ignoring a child’s need for emotional support or attention
- Forcing a child to remain in an abusive household
- Refusing to enroll a child in school, or allowing them to miss too much school
- Failing to provide access to appropriate doctors or facilities in the event of injury or illness
- Not allowing a child to see doctors for preventative care
Caregivers, parents, and legal guardians are expected to provide sufficient care for the children they look after. Neglecting a child can put their well-being at risk, hindering their development socially, mentally, emotionally, and even physically. A judge will not hesitate to remove a child from a neglectful environment, and place them in a safe, healthy, and supportive home.
Family Court Advocates
A parent who is accused of, and later found guilty of, abuse or neglect may lose their custodial rights, or only be allowed to interact with a child under strict supervision. Because of the severity of these cases, it is imperative that both parties retain legal representation. An experienced family law attorney, such as those at Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C., will best be able to advocate for your family’s best interest.
For more information on child neglect and abuse matters in New York City, contact the team at Brian D. Perskin & Associates to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.