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Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act

Brian J Smith Aug. 20, 2012

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, otherwise known as CAPTA, [intlink id=”1418″ type=”page”]is a federal law[/intlink] requiring states to institute statutes protecting children from abuse and neglect. In the case you are accused of child abuse, seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you are [intlink id=”19″ type=”page”]arrested for child abuse[/intlink] in Las Vegas or Clark counties in Nevada, criminal defense attorneys are there to explain and protect your rights as the accused.

Oftentimes, the earlier that you hire an attorney, the better chance you have of preventing unjust prosecution or other penalties. Attorneys are there not only to provide you counsel but to provide exculpatory evidence before any determinations about your guilt or innocence are made. Furthermore, the early stages of these kinds of cases are when your attorney is able to contact the prosecutor and go over the case before any decisions have been made.

Child abuse allegations are very serious, and regardless of whether or not the are confirmed, can rip families apart. The safety of children is taken very serious by law enforcement officials, because the outcome of their investigations can have very serious repercussions. Oftentimes, children are coached by adults to confirm or deny allegations of abuse; this is for the benefit of the adults involved, and not the child, whose rights and happiness should be of utmost concern to everyone involved.

The monetary and administrative costs of the entire legal process surrounding allegations of child abuse can be very expensive. Between the amount it costs law enforcement, medical expenses, and child welfare services as well as services provided by the mental health care system, over one-hundred and fifty million dollars is spent annually on child abuse and neglect in the state of Nevada.

The definition of child abuse is the “recent act or omission to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which has the results of: serious physical harm; exploitation; or sexual abuse; serious emotional harm; and even fatality, of a child.” [intlink id=”6″ type=”category”]Neglect and sexual abuse[/intlink] are also included in this definition, but determining whether abuse has occurred is often very difficult if visible evidence, such as physical injuries, cannot be found.

Sexual abuse is not only the physical exploitation of a child, but the sexual exploitation f a child for financial gain. This means that sexual abuse encompasses not only inappropriate touching and fondling, sexual assault, and rape: it also include forcing a child to perform prostitution or be involved in child pornography.

Many laws exist in Nevada dealing with the issues of child pornography and other kinds of abuse or sexual assault, and most of these impost significant time in prison if someone is convicted of child abuse; many of these are life sentences. Lesser violations of child abuse and neglect have similarly harsh penalties.

Physical abuse is defined as intentional injury done to a child. Examples of these include hitting, punching, kicking, biting, and unreasonably hard or frequent spankings. As is obvious from the last example, delineating between appropriate corporeal punishment, if any such thing exists, and abuse can be very difficult for law enforcement officials.

Spanking falls into a different category than other kinds of punishment, as it can be light and more demonstrative or actually quite harmful to the child. If authorities find spanking to be excessive, particularly if it leaves marks or bruises on the child, child abuse charges may be considered justified.

Investigators also look at other factors to determine whether any given situation of spanking is reasonable. These include: how old the child is, how frequently they are spanked, how many times they were spanked in the situation in question, implements used to administer the spanking (hands versus a belt, switch, paddle, or other implement), the parent’s history of child abuse and neglect charges, as well as their criminal history, or lack thereof, and more.

Child neglect is deprivation imposed on a child, and includes denying them food, protection, clothing and shelter, medical care, supervision and attention, as well as access to education as required by law. While in some instances neglect is willful and malicious, it can also happen because the parents do not have the resources to properly feed, clothe, care for, or educate their child or children.

Child neglect is a crime of omission, but nonetheless is very serious. Oftentimes it carries the same penalties as if the parent committed abuse themselves. There are some situations in which mothers are charged with neglect for not preventing a partner from injuring her children, or the children they share. Speaking to an attorney and informing yourself of your rights is the best way to defend yourself against false accusations of abuse of any kind.

Regardless of the reasons you find yourself involved in a civil or criminal case, a defense lawyer is essential. They help parents bring charges against abusive parents, as well as help parents who have been falsely accused of child abuse. A Las Vegas-based attorney can help you in your accusation of child abuse in many ways, which include acting as an intermediary between you and law enforcement, as well as prosecutors. Having someone act on your behalf who knows the ins and out of the system will keep you from saying the wrong things and keep your nose clean.