Child abuse occurs when a parent or caregiver causes an injury, death, emotional harm, or risk of serious harm to a child. Child abuse can come in the form of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or child neglect. More times than not, any form of child abuse will alter a child’s life, in some cases leading to suicide later on in life.
According to the 2015 Child Maltreatment Report from the Children’s Bureau, the rate of child abuse has increased in every aspect. The number of reported cases is up from 2.6 million in 2014 to 4 million in 2015, the number of children involved increased .6 million, from 6.6 million to 7.2 million, and the number of child deaths from abuse increased from 1,580 in 2014 to 1,670 in 2015. The report went on to state that “about 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children.” Based on these statistics, there is a good chance that this vicious cycle will continue to grow if nothing is done to help prevent child abuse.
Is Child Abuse a Form of Personal Injury?
The simple answer, yes, child abuse is a form of personal injury. There are a number of ways that you can go about fighting a child abuse case; they are:
- Criminal Case: A criminal case will be brought by the government against the alleged abuser. This type of case is punishable by incarceration, imposition of fines, mandatory counseling, probation, and other sanctions.
- Civil Lawsuit: A civil suit must be brought by the alleged victim of the abuse. Liability comes in the form of damages or compensation from the abuse of the victim.
Child abuse cases do not always result in a trial in the criminal court system. The majority of cases fall into one of these categories:
- No criminal proceedings – There are no criminal proceedings in connection with the alleged abuse. This is common with unreported abuse.
- Criminal Proceedings, Not Convicted – There are criminal proceedings with the abuser, but he/she is not convicted. This can be a result of dropped charges or a jury found that abuser not guilty.
- Criminal Proceedings, Convicted – There are criminal proceedings with the abuse and he/she is convicted. This can be the result of the abuser making a guilty plea deal or the abuser being found guilty after a trial.
If there is a criminal proceeding, the result will play a factor in the ruling of any civil lawsuit that is filed. For example, if the abuser is found guilty, he/she will be held responsible in a civil lawsuit.
Who Can Help You Fight a Child Abuse Case?
For all child abuse cases, it can be a long, emotionally taxing experience for the victim. A case of this nature will require the victim to relive the abuse, as they will most likely have to tell their story during a trial. If you are a divorced parent and have abused your child, your rights to child visitation may be modified or revoked. An experienced personal injury attorney can help guide you through this difficult time by explaining your legal options and walking you through the lawsuit process. Contact a personal injury attorney today for more specific information about your particular case.