Articles Tagged with child abuse

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child-domestic-violence-300x203As parents, we love our children and never want to see them hurt. If a child is injured due to an accident, we naturally feel a sense of guilt and worry. But if an innocent accident somehow leads to false accusations of domestic violence or child abuse, it can be nothing less than devastating.

Unfortunately, it’s a reality that many parents fear and face. California law holds parents and guardians responsible for the safe care of children, and whether due to a misunderstanding, circumstantial evidence, or even a vindictive partner—sometimes, an unfortunate accident can become complicated with criminal charges. 

If this has happened to you, it’s easy to feel completely helpless and without recourse—especially considering how the law tends to lean toward proactive protection of domestic violence victims. You may find yourself slapped with a protective order, forcing you to leave your home. You might have your custody and/or visitation rights temporarily suspended.

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In the state of California, if you are accused of child abuse (specifically, hitting your child abusively), your world could immediately be put into upheaval. California’s stance on child abuse is to provide immediate protection for the child first (by removal or restraining orders, if necessary), then investigating and pursuing the claims. Depending on the severity of the accusations or the intensity of the situation, within a matter of hours, you could find yourself arrested, separated from your child, and barred from returning to your own home. Your custody rights may be revoked (at least temporarily), and jail time might loom—all before you truly understand the charges you could be facing. Let’s talk about this sensitive issue, discuss what California law says about child abuse, how the state might respond to child abuse accusations, how the accusations might affect your custody rights, and what could happen if you are convicted.

What the Law in California Says About Child Abuse

Under Penal Code 273d PC, the State of California defines child abuse as an act in which someone “willfully inflicts upon a child any cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or an injury resulting in a traumatic condition.” A “child” is defined as a minor under the age of 18. The law is worded in a way that often causes confusion over whether or not it’s illegal to spank a child in California—and indeed, some believe corporal punishment is a gray area of the law. However, under this definition, the act of hitting a child physically for disciplinary reasons (even with an object) is not considered child abuse unless it is excessive, cruel, or results in a “traumatic condition.” A basic spanking for disobedience would not be considered abusive, but breaking the skin or leaving a mark in the process could be construed as child abuse.

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One keynontradtional-families-violence-300x200 characteristic of domestic violence is that it doesn’t play favorites. In other words, there is no particular family type, age bracket, income bracket, or geographic location that cannot be touched by it. Domestic violence is an epidemic, and it can impact families of any race or ethnicity, rich, poor, or middle-class, living in rural communities or large cities, etc.

As the definition of what constitutes a family unit has expanded over the past few decades, many nontraditional families are discovering that they, too, are not exempt from the ravages of domestic violence. Let’s take a closer look at various types of nontraditional families to see the ways in which they may be susceptible to domestic violence.

Nontraditional Families Defined

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