Far too often the hidden crime of child abuse goes on in front of us, and yet we do not really see it for what it is. It’s a crime no one wants to think about, let alone acknowledge, and it’s been with us for many years. In fact, doctors officially recognized abuse in 1961 and called it the battered child syndrome.
Child abuse is unfortunately far more rampant than we would like to believe. It is a crime that hits those who learn about it the hardest, for it violates something deeply personal in all of us. It is offensive, disturbing and heartbreaking for the damage it will cause youngsters. Child abuse, or suspected child abuse, in Texas must be reported. It is mandatory.
The law specifically states that anyone who has “cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare may be affected by abuse or neglect” must report their suspicions or face up to 180 days in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000. This crime must be reported to any law enforcement agency and to the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.
While many people fear that if they report something like child sexual abuse they will be harassed for making such accusations, the law does protect them. Any highly qualified child sexual abuse attorney will immediately tell a concerned client that anyone who makes such a report is immune from civil or criminal liability, provided the report was made without malice and in good faith.
Reporting without malice simply means that the person was not intentionally trying to injure or violate the rights of another person. Anyone acting to protect a child they suspect is being abused (sexually, or otherwise) is protected for reporting this suspected abuse, if they went to the trouble to learn the facts about the suspected situation.
If you find yourself faced with a possible case of child sexual abuse and it is your child, this makes the situation highly volatile and delicate for all family members and relatives and the child in particular. This is one good reason to choose a child abuse attorney who has extensive experience in this area of the law. Compassion and empathy at a time like this are qualities that any distraught parent would want and need in good legal counsel.
While many people who find themselves in this shocking situation may think they are alone, they are not. The statistics on this type of crime are horrifying. For instance, it has been proven that 1 in every 4 girls and 1 in every 6 boys is abused before the age of 18. If you have Internet access in your home, you will be shocked to learn that 1 in 5 children are propositioned sexually while online. Sadly, there are as many as roughly 39 million survivors of child sexual abuse in America.
Child sexual abuse does not just take place outside the home. It lives and grows secretly within families as well. In fact, up to 40 percent of victims of sexual abuse were abused by a member of their family. Virtually 50 percent were abused by a trusted non-family member, so this means the remaining 10 percent of children abused are abused by strangers. If you are facing a distressing situation like this, immediately call a highly qualified sexual abuse attorney for a consultation. Your peace of mind and the future of your child depend on it.
Lance Sharp of The Sharp Firm is an Austin personal injury lawyer specializing in personal injury and accident law in Austin Texas. The lawyers at The Sharp Firm have a collective 40 years experience in being Austin injury lawyers. To learn more visit http://www.sharpfirm.com.
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