I. What is child abuse?
Child abuse refers to any willful or accidental mistreatment of a child by a parent or caregiver that results in physical, mental, or emotional injury or harm.
II. What are the forms of child abuse?
- Physical Abuse: Striking, kicking, strangling, burning, biting, choking, or any other action that physically injures a child.
- Emotional Abuse: Ignoring, shaming, terrorizing, isolating, or corrupting a child.
- Sexual Abuse: Inappropriate sexual talk, exposing a child to pornography or adult sexual activity, fondling, oral sex, or penetration.
- Neglect: Abandoning a child, inadequate supervision, refusal to seek treatment for illness, and inadequate emotional and educational nurturance.
III. What are the common signs of child abuse?
- Visible injuries like bruises, blisters, burns, cuts, and scratches.
- Behavioral issues such as aggression, low self-esteem, fear, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and self-destructive behavior (e.g., eating disorders, substance abuse, and suicide attempts).
- Sexualized behavior or precocious knowledge of explicit sexual behavior.
- Untreated medical and dental problems.
IV. What are the child abuse offenses in Texas?
Depending on the child’s injuries, anyone convicted of child abuse in Texas can expect to spend between 180 days (in case of a state jail felony) and 99 years in prison (in case of a first-degree felony) and receive penalties of up to $10,000.
V. How to report child abuse in Texas?
As per Texas Family Code Section 261.101 (a), child abuse or neglect must be reported to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) within 48 hours of knowledge (or a reasonable suspicion) of the abuse.
If you know a victim of child abuse, set up a free consultation with the experienced Dallas-Fort Worth child abuse attorneys at Samples Ames PLLC immediately to make sure responsible parties pay for what they have done. Reach out to us online or call (469) 466-2600 (Dallas) / (817) 605-1505 (Fort Worth).