Livingston Child Abuse Lawyer
Child abuse is devastating, and victims may feel its impact throughout their lives. Shame, confusion, or doubt that anyone will believe them often prevents young victims from disclosing abuse. Adult survivors may avoid seeking help or legal guidance out of fear of trauma resurfacing.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of child abuse, or if you suspect that your child has been abused, our compassionate family lawyers who understand these highly emotional cases could help.
Child Abuse Laws and Definition
Abuse is the physical, sexual, or emotional harm or risk of harm to anyone under the age of 18 caused by a parent or other person acting as a caregiver, according to New Jersey Statute 9:6-1. Common forms of abuse include striking, sexually molesting, or abandoning a child, but other types can occur and may include the following:
- Habitually using profane, indecent or obscene language in the child’s presence
- Performing an indecent, unlawful, or immoral act in the child’s presence
- Using excessive physical restraint on a child
- Willfully isolating a child from ordinary social contact
A local legal professional who is familiar with child abuse cases could fully explain what actions constitute abuse in the state of New Jersey.
An abused child may show warning signs or display certain behaviors. It is essential to recognize these signals to prevent further harm.
A child who is being or has been physically abused may show the following:
- Unexplained injuries or marks
- Scared, anxious, depressed, or aggressive behavior
- Unusual changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Abusive behavior toward animals or pets
If another parent or caregiver offers conflicting information about or shows little concern for the child’s injury, abuse may be present.
A victim of sexual abuse may exhibit the following signs:
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Bleeding or swelling in the genital area
- Nightmares or wetting the bed
- Self-harming behavior, including cutting or burning
- Inappropriate sexual behavior
If a suspected abuser repeatedly compliments the child’s physical appearance or makes excuses to be alone with the child, these are also potential signs of ongoing abuse.
A child suffering from mental or emotional abuse may display the following:
- Extreme behavior, such as being overly compliant or demanding, extremely passive, or aggressive
- Adult-like behavior in the home (for example, parenting other children), or engaging in self-harm, including repetitive behaviors like head-banging
- No attachment to the parent/caregiver
- A decline in cognitive abilities or self-care
These behaviors or signs may be distressing and difficult to process for those who care for the child exhibiting them. A knowledgeable child abuse attorney in Livingston could refer the child to a qualified mental health professional for evaluation and assess whether legal action should be taken.
Family Law and Abuse Cases in New Jersey
In 2019, a new law went into effect in New Jersey and extended the amount of time survivors have to file claims against their abusers. A dedicated attorney in the area could explain this critical change in child abuse laws, determine if a civil action is warranted based on the specific case, and ensure that a lawsuit is filed on time.
Child abuse can have a substantial impact on many family law matters. If abuse is alleged within a family, the family may face legal action from the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency. If a parent abuses a child, their custodial time may be modified or suspended.
Many victims choose to pursue civil action to heal from their trauma and find closure in knowing the law holds their abusers accountable. A successful lawsuit may also compensate victims for medical expenses, lost wages due to missed work, and emotional distress associated with the abuse. An experienced lawyer in the community could help survivors of abuse and guide families through the state’s social services system.
Let a Livingston Child Abuse Attorney Help
Parents seeking to protect themselves and their children could benefit from the counsel of an understanding attorney. Our firm’s legal advocates aim to provide support in the healing process and guidance toward a fair conclusion. Call today for a confidential consultation with our compassionate Livingston child abuse lawyer.