New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

Understanding Child Abuse

Posted on Dec 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

A typical American student spends about 15,000 hours in school before they graduate high school. Given the amount of time children spend in school and with their teachers, it is prudent that the right measures are taken to not just prevent but also intervene on time in child as well as adolescent abuse or maltreatment.

Teachers and parents in specific must be trained to swiftly respond to any instance of suspected abuse. Since it is a problem that is known to occur with nearly 2,500 children succumbing to child abuse each day.

Educational institutions and settings are the last place where parents would expect abuse to occur. Parents admit their children in school with a certain amount of trust and when this is broken, action must be taken.

In situations wherein teachers are found to be either harassing or molesting a student, the guilty party can be made accountable for these inappropriate actions and needs to be. This cannot be tolerated. However, it is important for you to understand the signs of abuse and report it as soon as possible.

Sadly, a number of children also succumb to abuse in their very home. If you suspect that your own child or a child of somebody you know is a victim of child abuse, you must report it to the authorities right away. You may also seek the assistance of a legal law firm to investigate as well as handle any legal challenges that may arise from the situation.

Recognizing the signs of abuse

Neglect and abuse are forms of maltreating a child. A person can be held liable for abuse or neglect by inflicting harm or even by failing to prevent harm.

A child may be abused in not just their homes, but also a community setting or school, by someone they know or by a complete stranger. In certain cases, they may be abused by a single adult or several adults, or even a child or children. Sadly, child abuse can have a number of long term effects on the child’ overall health, well-being and development. Listed below are the main forms of maltreatment:

Physical abuse

Physical abuse, like the name suggests, causes physical harm to a child. This includes punching, biting, kicking, scalding, throwing, shaking, or even beating with objects such as whips, belts, and sticks by a fellow student, a senior in school or even a teacher.

This also includes poisoning a child, giving a young child alcohol or illegal drugs and other acts such as drowning and suffocation. Physical harm may also be caused when a caregiver or even parent fabricates the signs of illness in a child. An unborn child may also be harmed by domestic violence.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse includes repeated verbal threats, ridicule, criticism, and yelling. It also includes lack of love, and affection that can cause severe adverse effects on a child’s mental development. Conveying messages that make a child believe he is worthless, inadequate, or unloved, also classifies as emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse also includes making a child feel valued only as long as they meet the needs of another individual and not giving the child an opportunity to express their views, or forcibly silencing them or making fun of what they say and how they speak.

This type of abuse also includes an adult imposing inappropriate expectations on a young child and also prohibiting the child from interacting with others socially. In some cases, serious bullying can also cause a child to feel endangered or plummet them in constant fear.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse entails forcing a child or young teen to involve in sexual activities, with or without the child’s understanding of what is happening. Physical contact such as oral sex, kissing, rubbing, penetrative sex, masturbation, and even touching a child through the clothing, is termed as sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse also includes, forcing a child to be a spectator to sexual activities, or images, or encouraging a child to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming and preparing a young child for abuse is considered sexual abuse. The abuser can be a man, woman, or other kids.

Neglect

When there has been persistent failure to meet a child’s basic psychological or physical needs, that results in the impairment of the child’s development or health, the person responsible to care for the child can be held liable for neglect. In other words, neglect is when a caregiver fails to provide clothing, food, and shelter.

Exclusion from home as well as abandonment, emotional harm, failure to provide medical care or access to education may also be classified as neglect. Many a times, a child is not given the level of care he deserves as the parent or caregiver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Possible signs of abuse

The following listed signs may or may not be indicators that abuse has occurred, however, the possibility must not be overlooked.

 Signs of possible physical abuse 

  • Any injuries that aren’t consistent with the explanation that is given for them.
  • Injuries that may occur to parts of the body that are not normally exposed to falls.
  • Any injury that has not received medical attention.
  • Child showing signs of reluctance to change for a game.
  • Any signs of bruises, fractures, bites, and burns that may not have an accidental justification.
  • The child renders inconsistent accounts each time he is asked the cause of the injury.
  • Frozen watchfulness.

Signs of probable sexual abuse

  • Any kind of allegation made by the child that indicates sexual abuse.
  • When the child exhibits inappropriate knowledge of adult sexual behavior for their age, or shows excessive pre-occupation with sexual matters, or engages in sexual play that is clearly inappropriate for their age.
  • Repeated urinary infections.
  • Inappropriate bed-sharing arrangements at home.
  • Shows sexual activity via play, words, or drawing.
  • Eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia.
  • Unexplained stomach aches.
  • Child shows signs of being sexually provocative or seductive with older kids or even adults.
  • Child suffering from severe sleep disturbances coupled with fear, phobias, and even nightmares that may have veiled sexual connotations.

Signs of possible emotional abuse

  • Signs of depression, extreme anxiety, aggression, or even regression in mood or behavior of a child.
  • Child withdraws or becomes very clingy.
  • Exhibits and shares phobias.
  • Sudden and unexplainable lack of concentration.
  • Underachievement with no apparent reason.
  • Seeking adult attention and withdrawing from other children.
  • Thinking lowly about one’s own self.
  • Speech or sleep disorders.
  • Aggressive towards others.
  • Extreme passivity or shyness.
  • Stealing
  • Lying

Signs of possible neglect

  • Dirty skin, body odor, uncombed and unwashed hair
  • Dirty clothing that is either too big or small or not appropriate for the weather
  • Untreated lice
  • Being left unsupervised for long hours
  • Frequent diarrhea and tiredness
  • Infected cuts that haven’t been attended
  • Always hungry
  • Overeating junk food

What can child abuse lead to?

Prolonged physical, emotional, sexual abuse or neglect of children can have major ramifications as well as long time effects on their health, development as well as general wellbeing. A child can grow up feeling worthless, unloved, powerless, betrayed, confused, mistrustful, and frightened of others. Many kids may feel that the abuse is in fact their fault.

Possible effects of physical abuse

Physical abuse can cause not just physical injuries, but also neurological damage, physical disability and in some extreme cases even death. Physical abuse may be linked to aggressive behavior, emotional as well as behavioral issues, and also learning difficulties.

Possible effects of emotional abuse

If a child is constantly put through emotional abuse, there is a high probability of adverse long term effects on their overall well-being and development. Emotional abuse can have a huge impact on a child’s mental health, self-esteem, and even behavior. Domestic violence, addiction, and adult mental health in families can expose young children to emotional abuse.

Possible effects of sexual abuse

Disturbed behavior such as inflicting self-harm, unexplained sadness, depression, inappropriate sexual behavior, and loss of self-esteem have been linked to sexual abuse. Children who may suffer sexual abuse may have to endure life-long effects. Doctors opine that the severity of the impact on the child can get more serious and increase if the abuse is prolonged.

The child can, however, cope with the support of a non-abusive adult who believes the child, and helps reinforce their lost confidence and self-esteem while making them understand what abuse is and offering help as well as protection. In many cases, an adult who may have been sexually abused as a child may abuse his own children.

You can see this in shows like CSI and so on. Children that are abused as children sometimes to become normal adults.

Possible effects of neglect

Like emotional and physical abuse, neglect too can seriously impair a child’s health, as well as intellectual growth and development adversely. It can cause long term difficulties and the child may struggle to function normally or mix with other children of the same age group. In some extreme cases, neglect can also lead to an untimely death.

Abuse at school

Despite stringent laws and safety rules put in place, children do become the victim of child abuse at school. All school employees as well children are therefore required to report any incident that suggests abuse, maltreatment, and neglect. However, most cases of child abuse go unreported or ignored due to three reasons:

1.) Fear of the abuser

2.) Fear of how other people may react

3.) Fear that nobody will believe

These fears coupled with a lack of awareness about abuse is the reason behind why a number of cases go unreported. Those children who do speak up for themselves, do so with administrators or school principals who fail to pass this information to Child protection agencies or the police.

Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff, RMFW Law Firm, know how to handle cases like this. We know how to attack the culprit/s and the institution that employs them. If any child is molested by a coach, administrator, or a teacher we will make sure there is no further harm done.

We will make sure the institution pays for not doing their due diligence when they chose to put this person on the payroll.

Ex-elementary teacher gets 14 years jail time

A former first-grade teacher plead guilty to the charges of molesting 4 female students and having sex with a 15 year old that he met when working at Butler High School in the year 1997.

Jason Fennes, now 42, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault, and two counts of aggravated sexual assault and, according to the Daily Record. Jason was also scheduled to plead guilty on September 30th for allegedly abusing a girl at Cedar Hill Prep School in Somerset County. As per the terms of the plea deal, Fennes will serve a sentence of 14 years in prison for the Morris County charges and a concurrent term of 7 years over the Somerset County charge.

Fennes, taught in the Montville school district between 1998 and 2010, and also coached track at the renowned Montville High School. He was indicted in 2013 for having abused four 1st grade girls between the tears 2005 and 2008 when he worked at William Mason Elementary School in Montville county.

Just two days later, he was also indicted for having sexually assaulted a teenage girl at Butler High School.

School and day care injuries

When a child suffers serious injuries at a school or during any kind of school activity, the parent may recover financial damages to cover their medical bills and other costs.

A skilled attorney will investigate the details of the incident and establish if the injury was in fact foreseeable and could have been prevented by the school authorities, thereby making the institution negligent. If this can be established, the school will be held liable for the child’s injuries and the trauma that he or she may have had to go through and a fair compensation will be issued.

Similarly, day care facilities are also required to pave a safe environment wherein kids can be left under the supervision of the staff. However, many facilities fail to provide the basic necessities, fail to deal with improper playground situations and objects, and so on. Due to non-existent or poor supervision, unassuming children fall prey to abuse.

If the attorney can establish that there has been abuse, both criminal charges as well as civil liability can be made. The parent may be eligible for financial compensation for medical bills, counselling, and physical rehabilitation stemming from the abuse.

RMFW Law is a step ahead – call them today!

If your child was injured on the playground, was a victim of abuse, or was left unsupervised, the school or day care facility can be held responsible.

Contact Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff, of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280. Our astute attorneys understand that negligence and abuse can lead to traumatic injuries in children and may have far-reaching emotional as well as physical consequences. If the caretaker, or the school could have prevented the injury, our legal pros will help you get a fair compensation that you deserve.

We have the legal acumen to bring order to chaos. We have the legal depth to bring sanity to a situation that reeks of sloppy administrative work and lazy people at the top who did not sound the alarm when they heard the warning signs.

You pay us nothing up front. We only win if you win. Call us today!

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