Child abuse is defined as any harm committed by a parent or caregiver to a child through action or a failure to act. Abuse can have a severe, long-lasting impact on a child’s physical and mental health. It is also a serious criminal offense that can have substantial penalties for any adult who is found guilty, such as a criminal record, the termination of his or her parental rights, and in cases where sexual abuse occurs, the requirement that he or she register as a child sexual offender for life.
In some contentious child custody cases, one parent might falsely accuse the other of abusing their child in an effort to have his or her parental rights terminated. If you are facing an allegation of child abuse, notify your Appleton criminal defense lawyer immediately to determine how to prove that the allegation is false. Conversely, if you fear that your child is being abused or in danger of being abused, your family lawyer can help you take action to protect your child from harm.
Examples of Child Abuse
Child abuse comes in many forms. It can be an active, violent attack or it can occur through neglect. A few examples of child abuse include:
- Hitting, kicking or otherwise intentionally harming a child physically
- Engaging in sexual activity with a child
- Failing to provide a child with clean water, medical care or nutritious food
- Keeping a child in an environment that is hazardous to his or her health
- Manipulating a child into complying with the abuser’s demands
- Systematically tearing down a child’s self-worth through belittling, blame and other emotional abuse tactics like gaslighting
Who is a Mandatory Reporter?
Certain professionals are mandated reporters, which means that if they know or strongly suspect that child abuse has occurred, they are required to report the abuse to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. Mandated reporters include, but are not limited to, individuals in the following roles:
- Physicians and other health care professionals
- School teachers, administrators, and counselors
- Day care workers
- Social workers
- Law enforcement
- Clergy members
If you Suspect your Child is Being Abused
If you suspect your child is suffering from abuse at the hands of another adult, including your former partner, take action now. Do not wait to notify the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and if your child is currently in your care, do not return him or her to your former partner. Notify your family lawyer about any reports you make to the Department of Children and Families and if you break your custody schedule to protect your child from harm.
Work with an Experienced Appleton Child Abuse Attorney
If you fear your child is in danger, do not wait to contact emergency services to have him or her removed from the dangerous environment. To discuss altering your custody schedule and terminating your former partner’s parental rights or addressing a false child abuse allegation, contact Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC, through our online intake form or call us at 920-202-8872 to schedule your legal consultation with one of the experienced criminal defense attorneys at our firm.