How Does NJ Law Define Child Abuse?
Child Abuse Attorneys in Ocean and Monmouth County New Jersey Courts
Serving clients throughout Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey
According to NJ Rev Stat § 9:6-8.21 (2013), child abuse is the non-accidental physical, mental or emotional injury, sexual abuse, or negligent treatment of a child by a person responsible for a child’s welfare. This means that a parent or caregiver (of a child under 18 years of age) acts or fails to act in such a way that causes:
- physical injury
- risk of death or disfigurement
- impairment of emotional or physical health
- inappropriate sexual contact or content
- neglect and/or
This may also include failing to supply adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, medical or surgical care though the caregiver may be financially able, and cases of neglect.
Minimum Degree of Care
NJ Statute NJSA 9:6-8.9 defines a neglected child as a child whose physical, mental, or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as a result of the failure of his/her parent or guardian to exercise a minimum degree of care. Examples of this are: willfully failing to provide proper and sufficient food, supervision, clothing, maintenance, regular school education as required by law, medical attendance or surgical treatment, and a clean and proper home although though one is financially able.
NJ gets 78,000 child-abuse calls a year, and it’s trending upward
A recent article stated that over the past 4 years, the number of calls to New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families’ child abuse hotline has been rising steadily. Despite this disturbing trend, and even though the primary sources of child abuse referrals in New Jersey are from schools, hospitals, and law enforcement, not all calls result in investigations.
New Jersey is home to close to 2 million children and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure they are safe from abuse. Child abuse occurs in all kinds of families, regardless of race, ethnic background, socio-economic status, or religious beliefs. The most common perpetrators of child abuse are mothers, fathers, relatives, babysitters, and non-related household members. The actual statistics related to child abuse are often considered underestimates due to a failure of diagnosis by medical personnel or underreporting of the problem.
Steps to Take If You Suspect Child Abuse or It Has Been Reported to You
New Jersey State Law, requires that any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or acts of abuse, or neglect should immediately (i.e., “right now”) report this information to the State Central Registry (SCR). If the child is in imminent danger of abuse or neglect, you are required by law to call 911 as well as the Child Abuse Hotline 1-877 NJ ABUSE (1-877-652-2873). As a concerned caller, you do not have to be sure or have proof that abuse has taken place to contact the Child Abuse Hotline. Once a report highlights that there is a risk to a child an investigation will be carried out by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency who will investigate the allegations of abuse within 24 hours.
Having reasonable suspicion is enough to trigger a report. Any person who, in good faith, makes a report of child abuse or neglect or testifies in a child abuse hearing resulting from such a report is immune from any related criminal or civil liability as a result of such action.
Contact a Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Lawyer in Ocean County Today
Child abuse and domestic violence lawyer Peter J. Bronzino, Esq. has extensive experience serving clients in sensitive criminal family matters throughout Ocean County towns such as Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey. Our firm believes in keeping clients informed and involved throughout the legal process so that we can deliver uniquely personalized legal solutions. If you are looking for an attorney who will passionately and aggressively defend your legal rights as a victim of abuse or other legal proceedings, look no further.
Experienced Bronzino Law Firm, LLC attorneys can enlist the help of physicians, mental health experts and psychologists to build the most compelling case in order to provide an effective defense for you.
Contact us online or through our Brick, NJ offices by calling (732) 812-3102 today for a free and confidential consultation regarding your legal concerns and the role that a history of abuse has had on you and your family.