Children of all ages experience child abuse and neglect. In 2020, one out of seven children experienced abuse or neglect. And child abuse and neglect cause about 1,750 children's deaths each year. Chances are, these data are an underestimate, as most abuse and neglect cases stay unreported. In extreme cases, child abuse and neglect could result in human trafficking. Each year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also assists thousands of children who suffer from human trafficking.
Although this issue is a nationwide problem, state laws that address the case may vary in each state. Thus, it is crucial to learn about your state laws. States provide resources related to child abuse and neglect. These resources will help you understand the law and prevent an increase in these cases.
This article will find various government sources about child abuse cases. Some of the agencies included in the list are child protective services, child abuse hotlines, and guidelines on reporting child abuse.
Recognizing the Different Types of Child Abuse and Neglect
Child abuse or neglect can happen in different forms. Included among them are the following:
- Physical abuse is the infliction of violence or force that causes harm or bodily injury to the child. Acts or omissions of the perpetrator can cause harm to the child.
- Emotional abuse is using actions or words that attack the child's self-worth and jeopardize the child's mental health. These words or actions can be in the form of embarrassment, isolation, belittling, or rejection of the child.
- Child sexual abuse or sexual exploitation involves any sexual act with a person under the age of majority. The sexual act can either be through physical contact or nonphysical contact.
- Neglect happens when someone fails to provide for the child's basic needs. Basic needs include, among others, child care, medical care, and health care, as well as emotional support and nurturing. Neglect is commonly committed by people with custody of the child, such as a child's parent or caregiver.
Any of these forms of abuse affect a child's health and well-being. Thus, it is crucial to recognize the common signs of abuse and neglect. People are also encouraged to make a report when there is reasonable cause to believe abuse and neglect happens.
Reporting Procedures and Responsibilities
If you suspect a child is at risk of harm or suspected abuse arises, report it to the appropriate authorities immediately. Each state law has reporting laws that provide rules on good faith reporting. In most cases, there is a detailed list of mandatory reporters in each state law.
Those required by law to report cases of abuse are mandatory reporters. People in frequent contact with children because of their professions have higher responsibility in reporting the abuse. For instance, most state laws list educators, healthcare providers, and social workers as mandated reporters.
After someone identifies child abuse, one of the main goals of child welfare agencies is to provide "permanency" for the child affected. Permanency means giving the child a safe, stable, and loving environment. Permanency happens through the child's placement to foster care or adoption. But, the law encourages family reunification of the child.
Navigating the Varying State Laws
Definitions of child abuse may vary depending on each state law. Similarly, varying civil and criminal charges are imposed against the alleged perpetrator. Perpetrators of child abuse and neglect could face criminal charges, felony charges, or misdemeanors, depending on the severity of the case.
Also, every state has social services and law enforcement agencies that handle this issue.
This article will provide you with more information on child abuse and neglect. The sources will have statewide statutes and national laws. The links will also have child abuse hotlines and contact information that the public can reach out to.
- Child Abuse Resources (Alaska Department of Family and Community Services – Office of Children's Services)
District of Columbia
- Resources (Children's Advocacy Centers of Nevada)
- Regional Help (Office of Regional Operations – An Office of the Administration for Children and Families)
Consult with a Legal Professional
Child abuse and neglect is a serious issue affecting thousands of children yearly. It can happen in various settings. This includes homes, schools, and daycare centers. And children affected by it are usually left vulnerable and helpless. So it is crucial to take immediate action.
By learning about these resources, you will better understand child abuse cases. But,a family law attorney near you can help. They can help you get a better understanding of the case. They will also help develop a long-term solution to protect the child from abuse.