What is Child Abuse?
Child abuse is the harming of a child. That’s what Michigan law says. In most cases, this occurs when a parent or caregiver causes injury, serious risk of injury, emotional harm, or death to a child through either action or inaction.
There are many different types of abuse and, although all of them can be detrimental to the well being of a child, not all are illegal. Some of these types include neglect, physical injury, sexual assault, exploitation and emotional abuse.
Below, we describe some of the most common forms of child abuse. It’s important to understand that when it comes to child abuse allegations here in Michigan, they can be either criminal allegations or they can be allegations that are not criminal. The non-criminal allegations come under our child protection law. In some cases, there are both kinds of allegations.
Emotional abuse is when a child is harmed psychologically, mentally, or emotionally. This most often occurs when a parent, caregiver, or person in authority verbally assaults the child by name calling, terrorizing, threats, coercion, shaming and alienation.
This often has one of the most destructive effects on a child’s self-esteem and development but, unfortunately, this type of child abuse is normally also the hardest to detect. In fact, sometimes adults don’t even realize they are being emotionally abuse to the child.
Physical abuse is harming a child’s body. This includes the obvious, such as beating, whipping, hitting, burning, kicking and biting, along with many other forms of physical harm.
Physical abuse also includes intentionally depriving a child of basic necessities. This means that physical abuse includes denying a child of food and water, a bed to sleep in, or seasonally appropriate clothes to wear and safe housing.
Physical abuse is often easier to detect than emotional abuse. Allegations of physical abuse come up when a child has unexplained injuries, when infants have “shaken baby syndrome,” or when children appear to be suffering from extreme malnourishment. Physical abuse allegations arise in the form of criminal charges, CPS cases and even in custody disputes.
Sexual abuse is when an adult perpetrate a sexual assault against a child. This includes molestation, statutory rape, solicitation of a minor, child pornography, prostitution of minor, attempts to commit criminal sexual conduct, and indecent exposure. A person convicted of sexual abuse against a child will have to register as a sex offender on Michigan’s Public Sex Offender registry.
Sexual abuse of a child is one of the most heinous crimes in our society and a person convicted of this will face serious consequences, including many years in a prison cell. Sexual abuse is usually a form of physical abuse and therefore we see those allegations arise in criminal cases, CPS cases and custody cases.
Child Endangerment occurs when a child is put at risk of harm. This means that a parent or caregiver allows the child to be in a situation where the child could get hurt.
It is not required that the child actually be harmed but the mere risk of harm is enough for CPS to allege that a child was endangered. A Child Endangerment charge is most often used in Operating While Intoxicated cases, also known as drunk driving cases.
This occurs when an adult decides to drive while intoxicated with the child in the vehicle, therefore putting the child at risk. This specific charge is known as OWI Child Endangerment. Other instance include unsafe housing, inadequate supervision and failure to protect a child. In general, Child Endangerment is about what could happen to the child not what actually happened to the child.
Child Abuse Defense Attorneys
No matter what the circumstances, being accused of child abuse is a horrifying experience. Dealing with a possible criminal child abuse conviction often brings with it overzealous prosecutors and single-minded police officers and Children’s Protective Services workers – all of whom don’t care to hear the story from your point of view.
More often than not, these people want a victory in court more then they want to help keep you and your family together. Being caught in a child abuse conviction or a Michigan CPS case is a terrible situation, but you don’t have to face it alone. If you are a parent accused of harming one of your own children, a teacher accused of abusing a student, or a caregiver blamed for assaulting a child in your care, we know that the shame and horror you may face are unbelievable.
You may also experience backlash from your employer, your community, your family, and your friends. Because so many may turn against you, you will need excellent legal representation to protect you. Our dedicated child abuse defense team offers parents and caregivers the benefit of cutting-edge defense against every type of abuse allegation. We have decades of experience dealing with child abuse allegations in criminal cases and in CPS cases.
Our family law attorneys have decades of experience dealing with false allegations in divorce and custody cases. Based in Michigan, we are not afraid to fight the system to help you and your family. If you were facing child abuse allegations, you are going to need experienced attorneys who are not afraid to stand up for you. You will need an attorney from The Kronzek Firm. Call us today to speak to an attorney about your case.