Do you suspect that your child is being abused or neglected? If so, there are actions which guardians can take in order to protect their child from any further harm.
The first step to putting a stop to abuse or neglect is to be able to notice the warning signs. Child abuse is more than just physical violence, which is why it can be difficult to detect that it is occurring. This is especially true in cases of neglect. Child neglect includes failing to provide for the basic needs of the child, such as food, shelter, clothing, and hygiene. The reason a parent or guardian may treat their child such a way could be due to depression or another mental disorder, drug or alcohol abuse, or it could be a form of punishing the child out of anger.
Physical abuse of a child includes hitting, punching, burning, kicking, or another other form of abuse which results in injury to the child. Although some parents choose to use physical discipline in order to train their children, there are some key differences between the two. For example, discipline is not out of anger while child abuse is the parent lashing out when they are upset. In abusive homes, the child never knows when they will be physically harmed as the attacks are unpredictable. Abusive parents will also use fear and threats in order to control their children.
Other forms of child abuse are sexual abuse and emotional abuse. Sexual abuse against a child does not necessarily have to include rape. Sexual abuse also includes child pornography or forcing the child to view sexually-explicit material. Emotional abuse includes humiliating or demeaning the child. If the child seems fearful or withdrawn, it could mean that they are victims of such abuse.
If you have found yourself in this situation or suspect that abuse may be going on, it can be difficult to know where to turn for help. Although each state is different, New York serves as a typical example of how to handle these types of issues. By requesting a Child Protective Proceeding, the family court will decide whether or not the allegations of abuse or neglect are accurate as well as determine how to protect the children if the allegations are true. The first stage of the case will be the fact-finding hearing. Here, child protective services will make their report and put forth any evidence they have. Although it is not required, it is recommended that the parents or guardians are represented by attorneys so as to ensure their rights are not trampled on.
Once the fact-finding hearing is over, the judge will determine whether or not the allegations are true or false. If they are found to be false, the court will dismiss the allegations and the child will be allowed to return home. If the court finds that the child has been abused, a dispositional hearing will have to be scheduled so that the future of the child can be discussed. If they decide that they should be moved from the home, they may be placed in foster care.