Maryland's child abuse statutes make it illegal to physically, emotionally, or sexually abuse minors. Under Maryland law, certain third parties and professionals with access to children (such as teachers and pediatricians) are required to report any knowledge or suspicion of abuse to the authorities. In addition, Maryland Child Protective Services coordinates statewide efforts to curb child abuse and states that "reporting child abuse is everyone's responsibility."
Keep in mind that child abuse laws can vary from state to state. The following table touches on the basics of Indiana child abuse statutes.
|Family Law §5-701, et seq.
|What Constitutes Abuse
|Physical or mental injury of a child under circumstances that indicate the child's health or welfare is harmed or at substantial risk of being harmed; sexual abuse
|Mandatory Reporting Required By
|All health practitioners, police officers, educators, human service workers. Any other person, if notification does not violate privilege or confidentiality
|Basis of Report of Abuse/neglect
|Reason to believe a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect
|To Whom Reported
|Social Services Administration of the department or appropriate law enforcement agency
|Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting
Child abuse laws aim to balance the protection of children from serious harm with a parent’s interest in raising and disciplining their children as they see fit. Acts that constitute child abuse are more common in the United States than most people realize: every year, there are more than 3 million reports of child abuse, involving almost 6 million children. Every day, four or five children are killed by child abuse or neglect.
A child may be experiencing physical abuse if he or she:
- Has frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts
- Is always watchful and “on alert,” as if waiting for something bad to happen
- Has injuries that appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt
- Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home
If you suspect someone of abusing a child, you can contact child abuse resources in your state. You can also visit FindLaw’s Where to Get Help for Child Abuse section for more information on how to protect children.
Maryland Child Abuse Laws: Related Resources
The physical, emotional, and psychological effects of child abuse can be devastating. That's why it's best to report abuse to the authorities as soon as possible. If you would like to talk to a lawyer concerning a possible or existing child abuse case, you can contact a Maryland criminal defense attorney in your area to schedule a confidential consultation. You can also visit FindLaw’s child abuse section for more general information about this topic. Whatever you do, do something if you suspect child abuse is going on.
Charged With Child Abuse? Talk to an Attorney Today
It's not always clear what course of action to take when you've been accused of a serious crime like child abuse. But one thing that is clear -- you mostly certainly will want legal representation. Don't take any chances with your future; meet with an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney today.