Physical Child Abuse Lawyers in Austin
According to the American Humane Association, in 2005 there were approximately 3.3 million reports of abuse and neglect involved in the cases of more than six million children nationwide. Of these, 899,000 children were deemed to be victims of abuse- 16.6% victims of physical abuse. This form of abuse can involve beating, kicking, punching, burning or otherwise harming a child. Physical child abuse has been such a problem that in 1962 the term "battered-child syndrome" was coined in 1962. A good definition of child physical abuse is, "non-accidental injury resulting from hitting, whipping, beating, biting, kicking, or anything that harms a child's body."
Signs of Physical Abuse
Anything from excessive physical discipline tactics to lack of parenting skills or being abused as a child, can lead parents, grandparents, teachers, caregivers, babysitters or others to physically abuse children. The American Humane Association says that indicators of physical abuse can include the following:
- Bruises or lacerations or marks
- Swollen areas of the body
- Strange marks like human bite marks or cigarette burns
- Broken bones
- Puncture marks
- Missing hair
- Withdrawing or displaying aggressive behavior
- Complaining of soreness
- Wearing inappropriate clothing (long-sleeved articles during the summer, for example).
- Avoiding physical contact
- Running away
How to be Certain that Physical Abuse is Occurring
In order to be certain that physical abuse is occurring, it is recommended that you have your child tested. Tests such as a bone X-ray, MRI or CT scan can provide you with more information about your child's injuries. The New York Times' health section cautions individuals to consider that conditions such as Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Hemophilia, liver disease, Von Willebrand's disease and applying folk medicine can produce the same symptoms as those associated with physical abuse. After your child has received medical attention, you should contact Child Protective Services and the police.
You should report physical abuse if any of the following are true: a child discloses to you or hints that he/she is being abused, a friend or relative tells you that they believe your child is being physically abused, you observe physical signs of abuse, you observe behavioral signs of abuse.
When you report child abuse, you should relay all of the information surrounding your child or the child, your reasons for believing he/she is being abused, whether the family or perpetrator is aware you are making this report and your relationship to the family- along with any other details that could support your suspicion.
Fighting for Damages
If charges cannot be filed against the abuser, you can also see if you can file charges against the company that hired the abuser (if your child was abused at a school or day care center, for instance). Besides taking civil action- allegations such as domestic violence and assault make physical abuse a criminal offense. Steps that can improve your chances of collecting compensation and moving on with you and your family's lives include:
- Record any available evidence of the abuse- for instance, photographs of injuries and hospital records
- Consider filing a restraining order if the abuser is someone related to the child, or someone with whom he/she maintains habitual contact with (a teacher, coach, etc.)
- Interview possible witnesses, such as other family members, other teachers or your neighbors
- File your claim on time- Texas' statute of limitations for personal injury claims is 2 years, however Texas has a 10 year statute of limitations for the criminal charge "Injury to a Child"
If you believe your child, or a child you know has been physically abused, you should first make sure they receive medical attention and that the matter has been reported to police- then, if you are related to the child, you should take steps to receive damages and ensure that the child has the financial backing to move physically and emotionally forward with his/her life. Call Zinda Law Group today to receive the representation and answers you need from a Personal Injury Attorney.