Philadelphia Child Abuse Lawyer
Every US state is extremely tough on child abuse allegations, and Pennsylvania’s laws are harsh in terms of the criminal charges and punishment. A simple assault against a child under 12 years old is a misdemeanor punishable by up to five years in jail. However, some forms of misconduct carry felony charges, so a person could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. For parents, the potential for criminal charges is difficult, but there can also be implications for your rights. Officials focus on the safety of the child, which could lead your child to be removed from your home through proceedings that are entirely separate from a criminal case.
Child abuse allegations are always serious, but there are strategies for resolving the criminal and family law side of things. The Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane can assist if you are being investigated or dealing with other aspects of the process, so please contact us right away. We can schedule an initial consultation with a Philadelphia child abuse lawyer, and you can read on for background information.
Factors That Impact Child Abuse Cases
Parents have great leeway in disciplining children, but there are acts that go beyond punishment and cross over into criminal activity. Pennsylvania law provides that the following categories of misconduct may constitute abuse:
- Non-accidental, serious physical or mental injury to a child;
- Sexual abuse or exploitation of a child; and,
- Creating a likelihood of injury to a child.
Note that any of this conduct could qualify as abuse whether it is an act or failure to act to protect the child. In addition, there are specific acts described by child abuse laws, including:
- Kicking, biting, burning, and cutting;
- Restraining a child in unreasonably conditions;
- Forcefully shaking or slapping a baby under 12 months old;
- Leaving the child in care of a sexual offender; and,
- Many others.
Parental Rights in Child Abuse Investigations
Officials may act on a report from a relative or someone who is required by law to notify authorities about abuse, which creates some challenges. Children are physically active and love to play, causing injuries others might find suspicious. A parent could also raise false or misleading claims of child abuse against the other to gain an advantage in a divorce or custody case.
However, Pennsylvania officials cannot remove a child without following proper procedures, which include conducting an investigation. Depending on the case, this investigation may involve:
Assessing whether the child is at risk in the current living environment;
Interviews with the alleged abuser, parents, other caretakers, and the individual who reported abuse; and,
Reviewing the child’s medical records for evidence of injuries.
Assistance with Child Abuse Cases
The Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane represents parents accused of child abuse throughout the process, including the important investigations phase. We seek to show that the allegations are unfounded, which puts an end to the matter with the exception of recordkeeping.
Help from a Pennsylvania child abuse attorney is also necessary when there is sufficient evidence of child abuse. The child could be removed from the home, so your goal would be to keep the family intact. If officials do not remove the child, parents may be required to complete courses, participate in abuse treatment, and other terms.
Get in Touch with a Philadelphia Child Abuse Lawyer Right Away
When legal proceedings could affect your freedoms, parental rights, and relationship with your child, retaining skilled counsel is essential. To learn more how about how we can help with child abuse allegations, please contact the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane to set up a case evaluation. A Philadelphia Child Abuse Lawyer can provide additional details after reviewing your circumstances.