In California, and other areas of the country, instances of child abuse, sexual abuse and molestation by sexual predators are found both where there are large numbers of children as well as in areas where there may be only a few children. It is the duty of organizations and their staff that provide childhood extracurricular activities, guidance, or education to do everything in their power to protect your child.
This means that if a leader within those organizations has had questionable, inappropriate or illegal relations with a child, he or she should be thoroughly investigated and brought to the attention of law enforcement. If organizations fail to do so, they could face substantial civil liability. In a situation as serious as this you need the help of a skilled child abuse attorney to defend and protect your child’s rights.
At The Cifarelli Law Firm, LLP, located in Orange County, California, we are skilled child abuse attorneys who are committed to making things right for you and your family by holding negligent parties and entities liable from a legal standpoint.
What is the definition of child abuse?
California law outlines seven primary types of abuse including physical abuse, sexual abuse, willful cruelty, unjust punishment or corporal punishment, injury and any act or omission of neglect.
Mutual interaction between minors or any reasonable level of force used by police officers or school employees to maintain peace are not considered forms of child abuse.
How serious is the problem?
Sadly, child abuse throughout all of California is common. Records from the County Social Services Agency show the following for the first three quarters of 2013:
- Abuse has been reported in 14,364 families.
- A total of 28,193 children are affected by reported cases of abuse-this includes victims and their siblings.
- Just over 40 percent of reports involved children between the ages of 6 and 12. Five percent of cases pertained to infants under the age of one year old.
- Children between the ages of 1 and 5 accounted for nearly 27 percent of reports and 27.5 percent involved teenagers.
- Physical abuse was noted in 15 percent of reports, sexual abuse in 10 percent of reports and general neglect in 39 percent of reports.
Nearly 16,000 of the cases were reported by a therapist or counselor, school employee or member of law enforcement. Healthcare professionals reported almost 2,500 cases while 2,137 cases were reported by people with no relation to the children and no legal mandate to report.
Who must report child abuse?
California has amended its abuse reporting law over the years to include a wide range of groups required to report neglect or abuse. These include clergy, childcare providers, any school employee, police officers and other law enforcement employees, mental health providers, processors of commercial film or print photography, doctors, dentists, physical therapists, alternative health providers and any other healthcare provider.
Failure to report abuse is considered a misdemeanor crime and punishable by a fine of $1,000 and/or up to six months in a county jail. However, if the lack of reporting is found to have been intentional, the penalty can include jail time up to one year and/or a fine up to $5,000.
Child Molestation Lawsuit Attorney
At The Cifarelli Law Firm our primary purpose when representing you and your child is to hold institutions and individuals accountable for inappropriate, damaging activity such as:
- Sexual abuse by teachers, coaches and administrators
- Exploitation against children by clergy members
- Neighbors, friends or relatives molesting children
- Troop leaders and cases of abuse within extracurricular activities
- Foster parent abuse against minors
- Children assaulting other children
- Childcare referral companies who have not performed thorough background checks on employees
- Daycare and aftercare facilities
We know that these issues are sensitive, and can have long-lasting emotional consequences for you, your child and your entire family. That is why we take on the legal burden for you and will handle all administrative and legal aspects of your case.
We will keep you well informed of your case, conduct thorough investigations and help you bring guilty parties to justice while you focus on your family’s needs and help your child through this very trying ordeal. Our attorneys will do everything in our power to get you and your child the benefits and compensation they rightfully deserve.
Child abuse in any form is something that can be difficult for many people to comprehend or think about. The emotionally difficult road that families and children affected by any form of abuse is long and can be draining.
For many Californians, child abuse is something that “happens to other people”-except the sad reality is that it happens more often and to more people than one would think. Nobody is truly immune from such dangers and knowing the laws, statistics and warning signs can be useful in keeping children safe.
Contact A Child Abuse Attorney Today
Child abuse or neglect can take many forms and happen in many situations. The best way to keep a child safe-yours or someone else’s-is to take prompt action. If you suspect abuse, it is important to report it to authorities so that proper investigation can take place. In addition, if your child is affected by abuse at the hands of another person, you should discuss your situation with a qualified attorney to make sure you and your child are fully protected.
Email us or call our office based in Irvine, California, at (949) 502-8600 to schedule a confidential and free initial consultation. Take action in your case by contacting a trusted lawyer who can provide insight and understanding while protecting your rights.
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