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    Top 100 Trial Attorneys in California 2012-2014, 2008 Trial Attorney of the Year by the Riverside County Public Defender's Office, and dozens of other awards and accolades.

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What is Considered Child Neglect in California?

Posted in California Law,Juvenile Crimes,Sex Crimes on January 13, 2022

Child neglect and abuse are defined differently in each state. The definition of these terms is of most concern to friends and family of a child they suspect is being abused. Before assessing a case of child neglect, it is recommended that those investigating child abuse recognize that it can be perpetrated by anyone – including neighbors, family, friends, and other trusted adults.

The willful neglect of a child is a serious crime in the state of California. Usually, children are unable to speak for themselves and therefore must rely on the legal and bureaucratic action of someone close to them to remedy the issue. Graham Donath Law Offices, APC is the go-to law firm for cases of child neglect. Reach out to one of our Riverside child neglect attorneys today for more information regarding your legal options after suspecting a case of child abuse.

Child Abuse, Abandonment, and Neglect in CA

The state of California defines child abuse or abandonment as “unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, willfully [caused] or [permittance of] a child in…care to be injured, or willfully [caused] or [permittance of] a child to be placed in a dangerous situation.” It is important to note that when assessing the potential for child abuse, onlookers oftentimes focus on the presence or lack thereof of physical or sexual abuse – ignoring the role that emotional abuse can often play on the well-being of a child.

  • Incest, rape, fondling, molestation, indecent exposure, and any other type of sexual activity performed on or with a child is considered sexual abuse.
  • Unlike other categories, emotional abuse is non-physical. This type of abuse occurs when mental suffering or the jeopardization of a child’s emotional well-being is willfully carried out by an adult. Oftentimes, emotional abuse is noted by those close to the child in severe behavior changes such as withdrawal or hyperactivity.
  • Physical abuse is defined as an injury that is not accidental and inflicted on a child for any reason. Usually expressed as being done cruelly and without reason, this can include hitting, throwing, and anything in between.

While these are some of the main forms of abuse and neglect of a child, there also exists general neglect. In cases in which the health or well-being of a child is threatened due to a lack of care, the distinction of general or severe neglect is applied to the situation. This can refer to inadequate clothing, an infested place of living, or the absence of adequate nourishment. 

Child Neglect Attorneys: Why Are They so Crucial?

The most common defenses for a child neglect charge in California include acting within a parent’s rights to discipline a child, mistaken identity, safe surrender, or a cultural defense. In the state, a misdemeanor can land a perpetrator in county jail, a fine, probation, or all of the above. A felony is a much more serious charge, however. Finally, a child abandonment felony is punishable by up to six years in state prisons and hefty fines. 

Child abuse and neglect is a serious topic of legal conversation in the state of California. Those suffering from child neglect are usually vulnerable and in need of help. Reaching out to one of our Riverside child neglect attorneys can not only make the process less burdensome, but increase your chances for a successful lawsuit. Please call us at 951-667-5293 or click here to learn more about how our attorneys fight for you and your family’s rights.