Child Abuse Defense Attorney
Child abuse charges present innumerable nuances and layers of complexity to both the prosecution and defense.
Therefore, it is needless to say that child abuse is considered to be a serious offense by the lawmakers and assumes equal importance as sexual assault, resulting in some of the harshest penalties under Pennsylvania law.
Allegations of child abuse can have disastrous effects on a person’s personal life, relationships, marriage and community life, even if he is not convicted. Thus, it is advisable that you hire an experienced and proficient Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney when you are charged with child abuse. No matter how tough Pennsylvania law becomes, at Logue Law Group, our Pittsburgh child abuse lawyers are here to defend you against all child abuse allegations.
Child Abuse is defined as the emotional, physical, or sexual ill-treatment and negligence of a child or children. Any act or series of acts of commission or omission by the parent or a caregiver leading to a potential harm or threat of harm to the child can be construed under child abuse. Child abuse can happen in the child’s home, in schools and other organizations, and in communities in which the child interacts or is associated with.
Four major categories of child abuse are:
Negligence: Any act of neglect that causes non-accidental severe physical injury, leading to tremendous pain or seriously impairing the child’s physical functioning, either temporarily or permanently.
Physical Abuse: Any kind of physical harm that impairs or endangers the child’s life, physical development, or functioning.
Psychological Abuse: Any kind of manipulation or exploitation that severely affects the mental health of the child.
Sexual Abuse: Any kind of obscene behavior with a child, playing sexual games and touching his or her private parts or making a child touch someone else’s genitals for sexual stimulation.
Children who have been victims of such abuse usually show sleeping problems with an increased number of nightmares, violent outbursts, withdrawn behavior, and depression. They also do not want to be left alone with some particular people, have sexual knowledge, speak in a language or showcase the kind of behavior which is quite inappropriate for a child’s age.
Reporting Child Abuse
People in certain professions are required to report suspected child abuse. They are called Mandatory Reporters and include:
- Child care workers
- Law enforcement officials/police officers
Failure on the part of any of these individuals to report child abuse will result in criminal charges, as follows:
- A summary offense for school employees
- A second-degree misdemeanor for a Mandatory Reporter other than a school employee
Reports are generally made to the Department of Child and Youth Services (CYS). A child abuse attorney in Pittsburgh can explain how this process works. Generally speaking, the department will take the child and undertake a forensic interview where a so-called expert will interview the child. In most cases, the interviewer will ask many leading questions; this will result in a tainted investigation.
A skilled Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer must understand the subtle dynamics of these cases and know how they are supposed to proceed.