One of the most devastating things a child can endure in his or her young life is abuse, whether from a parent or anyone else. Children have legal rights just like an adult, including the right to representation by a lawyer familiar with child abuse cases. It is important to understand the role of an attorney who helps children who have been abused and injured. An attorney such as this has a commitment to serve the child, parents, and the family unit, regardless of who files a petition for the protection of that child. Every lawyer working with child injury claims is bound by law to protect the child as is deemed necessary, based on the needs of that child and individual family circumstances.
What Constitutes Child Abuse?
An experienced attorney who handles cases involving injuries to children understands that child abuse is classified in a number of different forms, all of which can cause physical and emotional damage to the child. Parents, guardians, or other adults can file a petition for the protection of a child based on the knowledge or suspicion of any of following abuses:
Physical Abuse – Hitting, shaking, kicking, and other forms of bodily harm against the child.
Emotional Abuse – Yelling and shouting at a child, belittling, humiliating, and making fun of the child, calling them names, vulgar and harsh language toward or around the child.
Sexual Abuse – Lewd or sexual behavior toward or around a child, forced participation in or viewing of sexual acts, exhibitionism, showing sexual videos, imagery or games, etc.
Neglect – Inadequate food, unsafe housing, lack of hygiene, lack of proper supervision, negligent medical care and other forms of neglect.
The Role of Lawyers in Child Abuse Cases
When a child abuse case goes to court, the child at the center of that case requires the expert representation of an attorney familiar with injuries to children, an attorney to protect their health and well-being who will help the courts, along with parents or guardians, determine a resolution to benefit the child. These cases may or may not involve Child Protective Services. The goal of any retained or appointed child abuse attorney is to work toward solutions that protect the child and place them in a good home and/or visitation situation.
A solution may be found with the parents, with a guardian, or even relinquishing the child to Child Protective Services in more severe cases. Both the attorney and the court want to see families stay together; however, when the best interest of the child involves either temporary or permanent removal from the home, the lawyer representing the abused child is sworn to act in a manner to protect the child.
Child abuse lawsuits and proceedings are complex, emotional cases that can dramatically affect the child, his or her parents or guardians, as well as the entire family unit. It is essential for adults to understand that while the goal is not to separate families, a lawyer protecting the child with injuries is required by law to represent that child like any other person, and find a solution that works best for the child. Depending on the scope of abuse or neglect, the courts can often work together with the family in an attempt to keep them together; however, the main goal will always be to provide protection for the child, in whatever manner is required.
Maurer Law Firm
Joshua Maurer, Attorney at Law
505 West Riverside, Suite 400
Spokane WA 99201