Presentation on theme: "Issues in Child abuse & Neglect How to define? Who gets to define? Where to draw the line? What to do about it?"— Presentation transcript:
Issues in Child abuse & Neglect How to define? Who gets to define? Where to draw the line? What to do about it?
Types of Abuse Neglect Physical Emotional Sexual Other
Physical Abuse “Knowingly inflicts cruel and inhuman punishment upon a child” BUT “discipline including spanking, administered in a reasonable manner, shall not be construed to be abuse” RS Mo
Sexual Abuse Fondling a child's genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials. Primary issues are ones of proof
Emotional Abuse Acts or omissions by the parents or other caregivers that have caused, or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders. Line-drawing and causation are primary issues
Neglect: Physical Neglect Refusal of, or delay in, seeking health care; Abandonment; expulsion from the home or refusal to allow a runaway to return home; and Inadequate supervision.
Educational Neglect allowance of chronic truancy, failure to enroll a child of mandatory school age in school, and failure to attend to a special educational need.
Emotional neglect marked inattention to the child's needs for affection; refusal of or failure to provide needed psychological care; spouse abuse in the child's presence; and permission of drug or alcohol use by the child.
Neglect issues “Fault” v. “Protection” Risk of bias
Consequences Numbers overall depend on definitions 160,000 severe injuries annually 1,000 to 2,000 children die annually Future consequences include increased risks of substance abuse, mental health problems, criminal activity, and abuse of their own children and spouse
Who are the children?
Who are the children? : Age
Who are the children? : Gender SEXUAL ABUSEOTHER ABUSE
Who are the children? : Race White Hispanic Black Other
Who are the abusers? Parents and Family (75-85%) Under age 40 (80%) Substance abuse (50-80%) Both male and female (though varies by type of abuse) Anyone can abuse a child.
Why? Complex interaction of many factors
Community/society High crime rate Lack of or few social services High poverty rate ( Poverty is the most frequently and persistently noted risk factor for child abuse) High unemployment rate
Parental characteristics History of abuse or violence Youth, Emotional immaturity, poor parenting skills Single parent or few social supports Poor coping skills, Low self-esteem Substance abuse Unwanted pregnancy; multiple young children
Additional factors Cultural/Religious Norms - “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child” Triggering Event - “Discipline” gone awry Substance Abuse Family Conflict
Abuse - R.S. Mo. §
Child Abuse & Neglect any physical injury, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse of child other than by accidental means by those responsible for the child’s care, custody and control, except reasonable discipline
Neglect: failure to provide proper or necessary support, education as required by law, nutrition or medical, surgical or any other care necessary for well being by those responsible for the care, custody, and control of the child
R.S.Mo Abuse “any physical injury, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse inflicted on a child other than by accidental means by those responsible for the child’s care, custody and control” “discipline including spanking, administered in a reasonable manner, shall not be construed to be abuse.”
What is Reasonable Discipline? Raboin v. North Dakota Department of Human Services Should the United States sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child?
How is abuse discovered? Reporting laws
Child Abuse Reporting Statute Definition of Abuse Reporters : Mandatory/Voluntary Immunity/Penalty for Reporters Privileges waived Investigation/Assessment Findings Central Registry Alleged Perpetrator’s rights /183
Should everyone be a mandated reporter? Mo. SB This act would provide that any person who has reasonable cause to suspect child abuse shall be required to immediately report the suspected abuse to the division. This act also adds an enhanced penalty for failing to report child abuse from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony when the child at issue dies as a result of the abuse or neglect.
How does the legal system respond? Criminal Prosecution Private Civil Actions Juvenile/Family Court Intervention
Intervention Hot Line reports Require investigation Protective Custody Reunification Plans Referrals for Termination of Parental Rights
Termination of Parental Rights - Procedure Juvenile Officer Investigates and files or gives notice of intent not to file petition Family Court may order Juvenile officer to file
Due Process in TPR Cases The standard of proof in all termination of parental rights cases is by clear, cogent and convincing (See Santosky v. Kramer for analysis) Parents have right to counsel by statute but not necessarily under constitution (See Lassiter)
Termination by Consent Written, witnessed parental consent, reviewed and approved by judge Judge determines that termination is in the best interests of the child May also occur through an adoption petition
Mandatory Filing for Involuntary Termination Foster care for 15 of past 22 months Abandoned infant Certain criminal acts by a parent (e.g.,murder or felony assault with serious injury of another child)
Common reasons for foster care Parent is incarcerated Parent has a substance abuse problem; or
Exceptions A compelling reason that filing would not be in BIC; or The child is being cared for by a relative; The family has not been provided sufficient reunification services Parent has a mental condition which impairs his or her ability to adequately provide for the child
Additional Bases for TPR Abandonment (actual or constructive) Abuse & Neglect Failure to Rectify conditions that brought child under family court authority Conviction/Guilty plea to certain sexual crimes Parent is “Unfit”
Parental Abandonment six months or longer, Unknown identity (or) left the child without any provision for parental support and visits/ communication
Abuse & Neglect for TPR A permanent mental condition which renders parent unfit A chemical dependency which renders parent unfit and can’t be treated adequately Severe or recurrent acts of physical, emotional or sexual abuse repeatedly or continuously failed to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, or other care
Failure to Rectify The terms of the social service plan and the extent of progress in compliance Agency assistance to parent Parent’s a mental condition Parent’s chemical dependency
Parental “Unfitness” a consistent pattern of committing child abuse or drug abuse before the child; or parental rights were involuntarily terminated within three years immediately prior to the requested termination with regard to the current child.
BIC the child’s emotional ties to the parent The parent’s interest, commitment, contact and support of child Possibility of reunification in ascertainable time with more services Length of incarceration deliberate harmful acts of parent or another with parent’s knowledge
Sexual Abuse Most abusers are related or live in the home Unlike physical abuse, not spontaneous, but seduction Perpetrator often convinces himself that child wants to participate Perpetrators threaten child to remain quiet
Effects of Sexual Abuse on Child Pervasive guilt Acting out, often sexually Knowledge of sexual matters beyond age Difficult to sustain true fabrication
Child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome Secrecy Helplessness Entrapment Delayed, conflicting and unconvincing disclosures Retraction