Child abuse charges generally can relate to incidents of exploitation, physical abuse, or sexual abuse, as well as neglect, abandonment, or isolation from social contact. In some jurisdictions, child abuse laws specifically address emotional abuse and neglect as separate offenses, while in others, they may be categorized under broader child abuse laws.
New Jersey Child Abuse Laws
In New Jersey, child abuse is considered any act or omission that endangers or impairs a child's physical, mental, or emotional well-being. This can include acts of emotional abuse or neglect that cause harm to a child's psychological or emotional development.
In New Jersey, specifically, child abuse includes "willful isolation of ordinary social contact to indicate emotional or social deprivation; inappropriate placement in institution; neglect by not supplying adequate care, necessaries or supervision."
What Is Considered Emotional Abuse or Neglect?
Emotional abuse refers to behavior that causes emotional harm and undermines a child's self-worth, emotional well-being, or mental health, such as constant criticism, belittlement, or withholding affection.
Neglect is the failure to provide a child with adequate care, supervision, essential needs, and support for a child's well-being.
What Happens If I'm Accused of Child Abuse?
In New Jersey, anyone who suspects emotional abuse or neglect of a child can contact the Department of Children's Services (DCS) and anonymously make an allegation. That anonymity makes it easy for the person making the report to do so without any follow-up or consequences. Unfortunately, making false allegations based on ulterior motives, such as a custody dispute, break-up, or divorce, is all too common.
If the investigation reveals evidence of emotional abuse or neglect, you could face legal action. The specific consequences and charges would depend on the severity and circumstances of the abuse. Authorities may take steps to protect the minor, such as removing them from the abusive environment and placing them in foster care or with another suitable guardian.
Facing Child Abuse Charges? Get Immediate Legal Help
If you are facing charges of child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment, you will want a trusted legal professional on your side. These cases are highly dependent on the facts, so you will want a skilled attorney to help you state your case and defend yourself against these serious charges.
Get Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Criminal Defense Team on your side to guide you through this process and protect you.