Child abuse is any behavior that harms or puts a child at risk of harm. It includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. A total of 618,399 child abuse reports were filed in 2020, with neglect being the most common form of maltreatment.
Suppose you get charged with the crime of child abuse in Gaithersburg, Maryland. In that case, our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Jezic & Moyse will aggressively pursue every conceivable avenue of defense to help you beat it. In 14 years of handling child abuse cases, we have never lost a jury trial and will always assist you with your case.
What is child abuse?
Child abuse is defined by the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g) as “any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”
Who is considered a child?
A “child” under this definition generally means a person who is younger than age 18 or who is not an emancipated minor. According to CAPTA, a child is a person who has not attained the lesser age of 18 or, except in the case of sexual abuse, the age specified by the child protection law of the state in which the child resides.
Who is liable for child abuse under federal laws?
Abuse and neglect of children are defined exclusively as the acts of parents and other caregivers. State statutes define acts or omissions that constitute child abuse or neglect and those reported to child protective services as perpetrators. The person has a relationship with the child or is regularly responsible for them.
Parents, guardians, foster parents, relatives, or other caregivers responsible for the child’s welfare generally fall into this category. Regardless of a person’s relationship to a child, child protection agencies in Gaithersburg, Maryland, will accept reports alleging that a child has been victimized by human or sex trafficking.
Moreover, under Gaithersburg, Maryland Family Law § 5-705(a)(1), (a)(3), ministers of the gospel, clergy members, or priests of established churches of any denomination are not required to provide notice when they have reason to believe that a child has been abused or neglected if the notice would disclose information about any communication protected by the clergy-penitent privilege.
Forms of child abuse
Abuse of children can take many forms, including:
- Physical abuse: Using intentional physical force toward a child, such as hitting, kicking, slapping, shaking, burning, or any other force, that can result in physical injuries.
- Sexual abuse: It is the act of forcing a child to engage in sexual acts and demands such as fondling, penetration, and exposure to other sexual activities.
- Emotional abuse: Behaviors like name-calling, shaming, rejecting, withholding love, and threatening, that hurt a child’s self-worth and emotional well-being.
- Neglect: It occurs when a child’s basic physical and emotional needs, such as food, clothing, education, access to medical care, and having their feelings validated and properly addressed, are unmet.
Penalties for the crime of child abuse
Child abuse carries the following penalties:
First-Degree Child Abuse: In the first degree, child abuse occurs when a parent, guardian, or other authority figure abuses a child. This is punishable by hefty fines, loss of parental rights, and up to 30 years in prison.
Second-Degree Child Abuse: In the second degree, child abuse occurs when a parent, guardian, or other authority figure abuses a child and the injuries are not life-threatening. This carries a penalty of heavy fines, loss of parental rights, and up to 15 years in prison.
Sexual Abuse Of A Child: Child sexual abuse is penalized by heavy fines, loss of parental rights, a lifetime listing on the national sex offender registry, and a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
Child Neglect: Although unintentional, child neglect is punishable by law in Gaithersburg, Maryland, with penalties including fines of up to $5,000, loss of parental rights, and a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison.
We’re here to provide you with the best possible help
Getting a good defense lawyer as soon as possible is crucial if charged with child abuse. With years of experience defending those accused of crimes related to child abuse, Jezic & Moyse is committed to providing our clients with the best possible defense.
We understand how devastating it is when accused of such a crime, and we will do everything we can to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Are you facing child abuse charges, or have you been arrested? Contact us today to request a consultation.