Child Abuse & Neglect
Houston Child Abuse Attorney in Texas
Child abuse and neglect are among the most underreported crimes in America. While it’s not an easy case to make, it sure is one worth fighting for. If you’re child is suffering from child abuse and neglect in Texas, our Houston child abuse attorney can help.
Our Texas child abuse & neglect lawyers at Chargois Harper Attorneys and Counselors at Law have over 30 years of experience helping families protect their children from abuse, neglect, and maltreatment. We have both the compassion to understand your unique situation and the knowledge to get the best outcome in your child abuse case. If you need legal assistance bringing peace back into you and your child’s life, schedule a consultation with us today!
What is Child Abuse?
There are different kinds of child abuse; it includes any form of mistreatment done on the child. In Texas, there are four main types of maltreatment: physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional neglect or abuse. These abuses can possibly result in both civil penalties and criminal prosecution.
There are laws in Texas that deal with child neglect and abuse cases. There are also government agencies that help children who suffered abuse and neglect.
If your child or someone you love is suffering from child abuse and neglect, it is important that you seek the legal assistance of an experienced Houston family law attorney. Our child abuse attorney at Chargois Harper Attorneys and Counselors At Law can help you assess the situation and find the best solution to protect your child.
Adults who physically hurt children or make actions against children that result in harm can be charged with a criminal case. Minor injuries, such as a strain, and serious injuries such as a burn, brain injury, or a broken bone can all be classified as abusive if inflicted upon a child by an adult. And even if an assault against the child wasn’t intentional or no injury was inflicted at all, an adult would still face criminal charges.
Mental & Emotional Abuse
In Texas, emotional abuse and verbal threats are classified as child abuse. Mental or emotional harm can lead to significant damage to a child’s development and psychological functioning. This means that a child doesn’t have to suffer from physical abuse to be considered as abused. For example, a parent who repeatedly terrorizes or humiliates a child has committed child abuse. If they have exposed their child to the sight of physical abuse, this is also considered abusive and could affect the mental health of the child.
A parent, caregiver, or guardian who is living together with the child is considered to be committing child abuse if they:
- Call the child with degrading names.
- Calling a child stupid, worthless, or a “mistake.”
- Tell the child that they can never do anything right or that they are not good enough.
- Tell the child that they shouldn’t have been born.
- Threaten the child of hurting them or anyone dear to them.
Children are minors who cannot give consent. Therefore, engaging in sexual conduct of any kind that is damaging to the child’s physical, mental, or emotional well-being is considered child abuse and is punishable by law. The Texas Penal Code prohibits sexual conduct which includes indecency with a child, sexual abuse, sexual assault, aggravated assault, and allowing or producing pornographic films, photographs, and other depictions of a child.
Since a child is under the age of 18, the use of physical force is not necessary for an act to be considered sexual abuse; lying, bribery, coercion, or a simple demand is enough for the act to qualify as abuse.
Child Neglect & Maltreatment
If a child has suffered an injury because of an accident such as tripping while running, it is not considered a form of abuse. Accidents, however, aren’t the same as negligence or carelessness, which are under Texas abuse laws. For instance, leaving a child without the supervision of an adult at home would qualify as neglect or abuse.
Also failing to provide medical care, proper shelter, or adequate nutrition to children could count as abuse. A home that is not suitable for living (unsanitary, extremely neglected, or infested with mites) could also be considered child neglect.
Parents are required by the law to provide their children with a proper home, enough nutrition, appropriate clothing, regular medical care, quality education, and supervision at all times. If a parent fails to provide these things then they can be charged with child neglect.
What Child Abuse is Not
Understandably, raising a growing child involves having to discipline them sometimes. The Texas Penal Code states that using non-deadly force to discipline a child is justified if both conditions are apparent:
- The doer is the child’s parent, guardian, grandparent, step-parent, or legal custodian of the child.
- The doer strongly believes that the use of force is necessary to discipline the child or to protect the child’s well-being.
Meaning, that any reasonable action done by the parent or guardian to discipline or protect the child is not considered child abuse. However, you may still be accused of committing child abuse for disciplining a child. False allegations are rampant especially if there’s currently a child custody case ongoing.
If you fear that your child has been abused, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Houston child abuse attorney. Don’t wait until it is too late! Hiring an attorney at the earliest stage of the case can prevent the situation from getting worse.
Legal Consequences and Penalties
Committing child abuse has legal consequences. The punishment for abusing a child depends on the degree of the offense. It can be punishable by 1 year in prison to life imprisonment. The age of the child who was abused can also be considered during a court trial when determining punishment. How severe the child abuse committed could also be considered when imposing punishment. Punishments for child abuse could include:
- A fine of a hundred thousand dollars to a thousand dollars or more
- Loss of visitation rights or custody of the child
- Parenting or anger management seminars
- If the crime committed involved sexual abuse, the offender could be required by the court to register as a sex offender
Call Our Houston Child Abuse Attorney Today!
Child abuse is a serious matter and there are certain acts that clearly constitute abuse. If you fear that your child has been abused in any way, it is best to reach out to an experienced Houston child abuse attorney right away. Our family law attorneys and divorce lawyers at Chargois Harper Attorneys and Counselors At Law guarantee you a safe and confidential consultation.
Call us at 832-479-4499 to find out how we can help you protect your child today!
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