The Ohio Revised Code defines an “abused child” as any child who is the victim of sexual activity, endangerment, physical or mental injury, or exhibits evidence of any physical or mental injury inflicted other than by accidental means. Child abuse falls under the general category of domestic violence a majority of the time because the abuse is often between family members or household members. According to the law anyone can be found guilty for child abuse, the abuse is not just restricted by parents, guardians, custodians, or another person having control of the child. The child can be subjected to out-of-home abuse.
Child abuse can come in a number of forms; state law strictly prohibits the following and declares it as abuse:
The law is very specific when it comes to parental authority, but many individuals do not understand it until it is explained to them. You are allowed to administer corporal punishment to your child and you will not be punished for disciplining your child in a regular manner. Neighbors who are nosy or school teachers who overhear your child talking about the discipline may jump to conclusions too quickly. The confusion starts when the punishment is taken too far, considered unnecessary, or poses a serious risk to the child.
If there is a question of corporal punishment turning into child abuse, the court will usually look at the following factors to determine the nature of the case:
You can discipline your child through physical means; you just cannot carry out the punishment in an excessive manner. In order for the prosecution to prove that the defendant has in fact committed child abuse they must prove that the physical punishment was excessive and created a substantial risk of serious physical harm to the child. The law also upholds that a child must submit the reasonable control of his or her parents. This means that if you ask your child to clean their room or vacuum the house that is considered reasonable. What is not considered reasonable is if you ask your child to do something that would endanger them.
Depending on the nature of the crime, punishments can vary. The court will take into account the age of the child as well as the nature of the abuse. The crime could be a misdemeanor or a felony. If the crime is a misdemeanor community service may be assigned as well as probation, fines, and some minor jail time. For a felony offense, large fines will be assigned as well as time in prison. Having the right attorney on your side during the proceedings can make a difference. DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder ensure that all clients know their rights during this difficult time and will fight for the best possible outcome. If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact us at the office today. One of our attorneys will be happy to take the time to answer them for you.