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Child Abuse

Rhode Island Family Law Attorneys

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), child abuse has been linked to a wide range of long-term health impacts, including both mental health disorders, and addictions. Unfortunately, the United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations when it comes to child abuse and neglect, losing on average between 4 and 7 children every day to this terrible epidemic.

Rhode Island’s Child Abuse Laws

Rhode Island defines child abuse as an act, or inaction, which puts a child’s welfare and health in jeopardy. This includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as well as exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Generally, offenders are family members such as parents, step parents, or uncles, but can also include teachers, coaches, or others who may be in close or regular contact with a child.

The state of Rhode Island requires that anyone with reasonable cause must report signs of child abuse. Penalties for failing to report child abuse include up to $500 fine and imprisonment for up to 1 year. False reports are punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and imprisonment for up to 1 year.

Penalties for Child Abuse Offenders

A person who commits first degree child abuse can be imprisoned for up to 20 years, but no less than 10. Punishment also includes a fine of up to $10,000. Those who commit second degree child abuse can be imprisoned for up to 10 years, but no less than 5, and fined up to $5,000.

  • First Degree Child Abuse: Inflicting serious bodily injury on a child
  • Second Degree Child Abuse: Inflicting any other type of physical injury upon a child

Effects of Domestic Violence on Child Custody

In addition to facing criminal penalties, an abusive parent might also face serious consequences in regard to child custody and visitation rights. A judge will weigh in on the facts of a case to determine the best course of action.

Supervised Visitation

This is usually a probationary requirement to ensure the safety of a child, taking place in the presence of a third-party adult or authorized agency. Once the probationary period is completed, a judge will review the case and decide if the supervised visitation requirement should be lifted, or if traditional visitation is in the best interest of the child.

Termination of Parental Rights

Some situations warrant a complete loss of parental rights:

  • Cruelty and or chronic abuse of a child
  • Sexual abuse of a child
  • Felony assault, resulting in serious bodily harm to the child
  • Murder or attempted murder of a child

Termination of parental rights is permanent and cannot be undone, even if the abusive parent makes changes. As such, this type of decision is ordered only in the clearest cases, and in service of the child’s best interests.

Rhode Island Child Abuse Attorneys

At TJC • ESQ, our Rhode Island child abuse attorneys can provide the type of insight that only comes with years of experience in dealing with such cases. You and your family do not have to endure this alone. We want to help you through this difficult time and provide you with the compassionate legal support you need.

We understand that the safety and wellbeing of your child is of the utmost importance to you and will work relentlessly to ensure that the rights of you and your child are protected.

If your child has been the victim of domestic violence, you must contact the authorities as soon as possible. Once you are safe, contact a family law attorney.

For a free consultation, call us at 401-400-4254.

TJC • ESQ is now a part of Burns & Levinson, one of the largest and most respected family law firms in the nation. Learn more.

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