Children are our future. In fact, to make that future bright, we should care for them as much as possible. Unfortunately, not everyone understands this which may lead to child abuse. So, what to do? First of all, we all should be legally informed to take any measure to protect children from abuse. And to help you with legal information, we have come up with the following useful information:
California child abuse law
It was in 1963 when the first child abuse reporting law was enacted in California. Similar to other states, California child abuse laws fall within the Penal Code. Penal Code §11164 states:
”Sexual abuse or exploitation as listed by an incident in 11165.1; neglect; willful cruelty or unjustifiable punishment; any physical injury inflicted other than by accidental means constitutes abuse.”
”Health practitioner, child visitation monitors, firefighter, animal control officer, humane society officer, district attorney, school employees, film processors, clergy, social workers, daycare workers, police department employees, administrators or employees of public or private youth organizations or day camps require mandatory reporting.”
”In the case of child abuse, one can report to a child protective agency (police or sheriff’s department, county probation department, or county welfare department).”
”The penalty for failure to report or false report is a kind of Misdemeanor; up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000.”
Warning signs of abuse
Often when the child:
- Is excessively fearful or anxious about doing something
- Shows extremes in behavior
- Is not attached to the parents
- Has frequent injuries, unexplained cuts, scars, etc.
- Is always ”on alert” mode waiting for something negative to happen
- Wears not appropriate clothing to cover injuries
- Is frequently late or missing from school
- Displays certain knowledge or interest in sexual acts not typical of his/her age
- Tries to avoid a specific person for no reason
- Has sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy
- Runs away from home, etc.
These behaviors are reasons to worry as these are signs of possible child abuse.
Is the child taken away from the family? Actually, California has strict rules about the child’s removal from his/her families. The law affords the child with protection. For example, peace officers may have the authorization to take the endangered child into a protective custody and/or place him/her in the care of the social service department.
To protect the child, you should report any case of child abuse. The report of abuse may bring changes and lower the risk of further abuse. Moreover, it is equally important to provide help for the suspected abuser as well. Surely, protecting an abused child may also become an opportunity to protect other children. So, you have decided to file a report? It should be done through qualified and experienced agencies to investigate the situation (for instance Child Protective Services in California). Parents and guardians have a right to report against any suspect engaged in child abuse. When a community member submits a report, he/she does not need to provide a name/surname.
After the report
After filing a report of child abuse, child protection workers or law enforcement bodies may contact you to gather extra info to help the investigation. The victim can litigate cases of child abuse and neglect in criminal court, family court, or juvenile court. After the case reaches the court, witnesses/reporters should provide testimony.
In addition: attorney to hire
Depending on the circumstances of child abuse, there may be several available defenses. Facing physical, emotional or sexual abuse? Get legal help by contacting a criminal defense lawyer. Consequently, our skillful attorneys will provide legal support to explain both your rights and responsibilities with respect to child abuse laws in California.
P.S. Children need protection because they are vulnerable and often unable to speak for themselves.