State laws take particularly harsh stances when a child is a victim of abuse. In New Jersey, there are laws that define child abuse. New Jersey defines child abuse in several different forms: abuse, abandonment, cruelty, and neglect. While these categories are distinct in their own ways, the consequences of a conviction can be dire for anyone, many of which can lead to jail time.
New Jersey law has a broad statute that fits a number of acts under the basic umbrella of child abuse. These include acts such as:
- Underage Employment: Employing a child illegally, especially in a profession that endangers their physical or moral well-being is a crime.
- Exposing The Child To Moral Degradation: When a child is exposed to morally degrading acts it is considered a crime. Even repeatedly exposing a child to profanity or other obscene language can be considered a crime under New Jersey law.
- Excessive Physical Restraint: If a child is restrained physically, without due reason, such as causing immediate harm to themselves or other, it falls under a form of abuse in New Jersey.
- Isolation: If a child is isolated to the point where they are unable to receive proper social or emotional contact to meet their needs, it is considered a form of abuse, even if all other needs are being met.
Abandonment is defined separately from New Jersey's general forms of abuse. Acts of child abandonment include:
- Forsaking a Child: When a parent or guardian willfully forsakes or illegally surrenders or otherwise abandons a child, it is considered to be child abandonment.
- Failure To Properly Care For A Child: Failing to properly care and keep a reasonable degree of control over the child's life in such a way that exposes them to physical risk or risk of moral corruption is a crime. Likewise, failing to care for the child in a way that makes them liable to become the responsibility of the state can also be considered a crime as well.
Cruelty falls into its own separate category of abuse. Cruelty to a child includes acts like:
- Severe Physical Punishment: Excessive physical punishment, especially in repeated incidents, is considered a form of child cruelty.
- Habitual Torment: Causing habitual and consistent emotional or physical distress to a child can be considered a form of child cruelty.
- Exposing The Child To Excess Hardship Or Strain: If a child is consistently exposed to repeated hardship, either physical or emotional, it is considered a form of child cruelty.
Neglect is the final category of child abuse in New Jersey. Acts of neglecting a child include:
- Willful Failure To Provide For The Child: When a parent fails to provide proper support, nourishment, and shelter for the child, such as clothing, housing and food, the lack of action can be considered neglect.
- Failure To Prevent Harm: If a parent or guardian significantly or willfully fails to prevent physical or moral harm from coming to the child, it can be considered a form of neglect.
Child abuse charges can carry severe consequences. Not only are the criminal charges serious enough, but child abuse convictions may result in the loss of custody altogether. In addition to this, even claims of child abuse can be severely damaging to a person's reputation. If you or a loved one is involved in a child abuse case contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.