Child Abuse Lawyers in Dallas
Child abuse takes physical, sexual or emotional forms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain “child maltreatment” as any commission or omission by a parent that causes harm. Neglect, which is not meeting a child’s physical needs is a very common form of child abuse. A basic breakdown of each form of abuse is as follows:
- Physical abuse covers any non-accidental injury to a child
- Sexual abuse (molestation) covers any adult-child sexual interaction with the purpose of stimulating the adult’s sexual desires. This is a crime because the child is not capable of giving his/her consent and often is not aware of what he/she is engaging in.
- Emotional abuse/neglect: Any activity that interferes with a child’s social development and mental health or failing to provide basic necessities for the child
Child Abuse Statistics
Babies all the way up to 18 year olds can be victims of abuse. In 2005, 3.3 million reports of child abuse and neglect were filed. That year, four children died each day as a result of abuse. Estimates say that 63% of child abuse cases involve neglect, 16% involve physical abuse, 10% involve sexual abuse and 7% involve emotional abuse. According to statistics, girls are more likely to suffer from sexual abuse or emotional abuse, while boys are more commonly physically abused. Most of the time, children are abused by their parents or another relative, as opposed to a stranger or acquaintance. Other individuals who are repeat offenders include caregivers, such as babysitters. Abuse can include any of the following actions:
- Inflicting illness upon a child
- Touching inappropriately
- Verbal assault
- Over pressuring
What to Do if You Suspect Abuse
Certain individuals are more prone to recognize and report child abuse, such as nurses or physicians, dentists, school employees, employees of the Department of Human Services, peace officers, psychologists, pastors, social workers, chiropractors, and so forth
Yet mandatory reporting is not just required by professionals, it’s required by every citizen in the state of Texas. Regardless of your relation to the child, you have a responsibility to report any suspicious activity that could be endangering the child. If a child tells you he/she is being abused- believe it!
Contact the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services if you believe a child is suffering from physical, sexual or emotional abuse/neglect. Failure to report physical child abuse constitutes a Class B misdemeanor, which could result in a hefty fine and jail time. Class A misdemeanors can also be applied when a person fails to step forward or when a false report is maliciously made.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
After the child has received medical attention and the police have been contacted, if you are a relative of the child you can press charges against the party responsible and attempt to receive compensation for past medical bills, future medical bills and continual rehabilitation and emotional counseling.
Abusers can not only be held criminally responsible for their actions, they also can be held civilly responsible. Sometimes the court will even award punitive damages in the aftermath of a child abuse accident.
In Texas, there is a 5 to 10 year statute of limitations for sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault or continuous sexual abuse of a child, depending on the details surrounding these. If the victim was a minor, the statute of limitations doesn’t begin until his/her eighteenth birthday. Other than sexual allegations, all other personal injury claims involving child abuse must be filed before two years have passed since the accident.
If you have any questions about filing a personal injury claim and need to secure aggressive legal representation on your side, Zinda Law Group would be happy to assist you! Our firm has more than 10 years of experience and has handled a wide range of cases with excellence and integrity. Call us today to discuss how a Personal Injury attorney can help you with your child abuse case and how you can take steps to move forward.