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What is Considered Child Abuse?

 Posted on June 13, 2013 in Family Law

There is much debate among parents, kids, and awareness groups when it comes to child abuse. However, Texas law does define child abuse. Chapter 261 of the Texas Family Code states that child abuse is considered anything that is an act or omission of an act that directly endangers or in some way impairs the child's physical, mental, or emotional health. Child abuse is always a major concern when the issue of child custody is discussed in family court and is a major determination in the custody hearing. TheresaChild abuse can be physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual. While a parent is within their right to "reasonably" discipline the child, the penal code does protect the child against sustaining substantial harm. Physical abuse can usually be recognized on sight. Physical abuse takes place when the child is hit, kicked, burned, cut, choked, or otherwise physically harmed by another person. Corporal punishment is considered abusive if there is an injury involved. Many abused children make excuses for the injuries such as saying that they had an accident, they were playing, or that they are just clumsy. There will not be a reasonable explanation for the injury and the injuries will often be recurring. Emotional injury is harder to detect. Emotional injury is usually inflicted via verbal assault on the child. The abuser may call the child names, belittle the child, threaten the child, or blame the child for things that they have no control over. Children who are verbally abused may also verbally lash out at friends or siblings, they may be socially withdrawn, or act out in other ways. Neglect is another form of abuse. A neglected child is often left at home alone and may be placed at substantial risk because the caregiver has not arranged for the proper care of the child. The definitions of abuse and the types of abuse can vary greatly. If you suspect that your ex-spouse is abusive, an experienced Austin family law attorney can help you get full custody of the children.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net

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