Types of Child Abuse and Neglect in New Jersey Family Law Cases
Child abuse includes any type of harm or risk of harm to a child under the age of 18 caused by a parent or other person who acts as a caregiver for the child. Every allegation of each type of child abuse or neglect is taken extremely seriously in New Jersey family law cases. The court will do everything within its power to protect the child’s wellbeing. If you believe that a child is suffering abuse or neglect, reach out to qualified legal counsel as soon as possible. A skilled attorney could examine the claim and explain the nuances of each type of conduct.
Child Abuse Terms
There are several forms of harm that constitute child abuse when committed by someone in a caretaking role. Abuse typically has tangible consequences in a child’s life, though not all types of this conduct are easily perceived.
Physical harm, such as pushing, hitting, or kicking, is a common type of child abuse. This conduct often leaves physical evidence on the child’s body such as bruises, burns, and broken bones that can be used in court to prove that abuse occurred.
Sexual abuse is any act of sexual contact or sexual penetration between an adult and a child under the age of 18. Often, it is a parent or guardian who knowingly permits the sexual abuse of their child by another person, and this scenario would still make the caretaker guilty of abuse.
Emotional child abuse is usually verbal and includes behavior such as constant negative talk and belittling. An emotionally abusive parent may tell their child that they are useless or worthless. Any sustained pattern of hurtful comments towards the child intended to compromise their self-esteem would fall under this type of child abuse.
Child Neglect Terms
Neglect is when a parent or caregiver fails to provide proper supervision for a child or fails to provide supplies for adequate care even though they are financially able to do so. The different types of neglect have various warning signs, but all pose significant harm to the child’s development and wellbeing.
Physical neglect is one of the most easily noticeable forms of neglect and includes behavior like failing to care for the child’s hygiene, failing to provide proper sleeping arrangements, and failure to generally provide a safe and healthy environment for the child to live. If a guardian does not ensure that their child brushes their teeth, showers, brushes their hair, or wears clean clothes, that would be considered physical neglect. If a guardian forces a child to sleep or live in a dangerous or unhealthy condition, that would also be considered physical neglect.
This type of neglect is defined as willfully isolating the child from social contact under circumstances which would indicate social deprivation. Emotional neglect is difficult to address because it leaves no outward signs on the child, though it is something that weighs heavily on them and may manifest itself in their behavior. Adults must remain in tune with their child’s demeanor and what would be out of the ordinary for them to determine if this neglect is occurring.
Medical neglect would be when a parent or caregiver deprives their child of needed medical attention. For example, if the child is seriously ill and the parent refuses to take the child to a doctor, or if a child is prescribed medication that the parent refuses to give them, the parent could be accused of medical neglect.
Failure to put a child in school when the child is required to be enrolled under New Jersey law would constitute educational neglect, as would letting the child miss school excessively or not ensuring that the child attends on a regular basis. Education is crucial to a child’s development, so allegations of this type of abuse are given weight in family court.
A New Jersey Attorney Could Help You Understand the Types of Child Abuse
An experienced and compassionate lawyer could be an essential advocate when dealing with allegations of different types of abuse and neglect in a New Jersey family law case. It is important to understand the specific kinds of conduct that can warrant abuse or neglect claims so you are prepared to address them in court, and a legal professional could explain all of them in full. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.