What comes to your mind when you think back upon your childhood? For some people, it may be the memories of playing with neighborhood friends. Maybe you fondly remember warm summer nights, swimming and laughing into the evening. Or possibly you think back on the time you spent with your family, cherishing those very special moments.But some people’s childhood memories are filled with sadness and fear. They are filled with sorrow, pain and suffering.Your child shouldn’t be one of them.

Child abuse and neglect, including child sexual abuse, is quickly becoming an epidemic in Florida as well as throughout the country. The number of abused and neglected children is continually rising, with nearly 5 children dying each day nationwide due to maltreatment. This is up from about 3 children per day at the turn of the century.

What is child abuse?

Child abuse can be defined as any act upon a child, either by commission or omission, which causes serious physical or emotional harm, or endangers or impairs a child’s physical or emotional health and development. This includes injuries upon a child which do not appear to be accidental in nature and cannot be reasonably explained.

While there seems to be a focus on physical abuse, other forms of child abuse are just as damaging to a child. The major forms of child abuse include various types of neglect and abuse.

Types of Neglect

Neglect is the most prevalent form of child abuse, affecting over 60% of child abuse victims. Neglect is the failure to provide for a child’s needs and can be broken down into 4 categories:

  • Physical neglect includes lack of supervision, failure to provide safe conditions, and failure to thrive, including malnutrition, inappropriate clothing for season or weather and unsanitary conditions.
  • Educational neglect can include lack of educational support, such as failure to enroll in school or chronic truancy.
  • Emotional neglect is the failure to meet a child’s psychological and emotional needs, including withholding attention and affection.
  • Medical neglect includes the delay or denial of medical and dental care, even in cases of conflicting religious beliefs.

Types of Abuse

  • Physical abuse is the most obvious form of child abuse and includes any non-accidental injury to a child such as hitting, kicking, biting, slapping, punching, hair pulling, shaking, biting, throwing, shoving, dropping, burning or other damaging, physical acts upon a child.
  • Sexual abuse is any sexual act between an adult and a child and can include coercion to participate in sexual acts with other children. Examples of sexual abuse include fondling,penetration, exploitation, pornography, prostitution, exhibitionism and forced observation of sexual acts.
  • Emotional abuse is any behavior, attitude or action which causes stress to a child’s mental health or social wellbeing. This can include screaming, yelling, name calling, shaming, humiliation or telling a child they are “bad, no good,”or “worthless.” Emotional abuse also includes the failure to provide affection and necessary support for a child’s emotional, social and psychological wellbeing. This can include withdrawal of attention, isolating, ignoring, lack of praise, lack of physical affection and lack of positive reinforcement.
  • Fetal abuse is the abuse of a child while in the womb. This type of abuse includes actions which cause harm to the fetus including the consumption of alcohol and drugs.

Places Where Child Abuse Frequently Occurs

As caregivers, we are sometimes forced to put our trust in others to care for our children. Sadly, these children often fall victim to negligent caregivers with a malicious intent of harming the child. Unfortunately, children are not guaranteed to be safe in any atmosphere and may endure abuse by caregivers in:

  • Public school
  • Private school
  • Church
  • Daycare centers
  • Social clubs and organizations, such as Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, YMCA and YWCA
  • Any entity which supervises children

Help for Florida Child Abuse Victims and Their Families

If your child has been abused, you may feel distraught. You may not know why this happened to your child and probably don’t know what to do, where to turn or whom to trust. The personal injury lawyers at Mallard Perez have successfully handled numerous Florida child injury cases throughout the state and understand the sensitive nature of this traumatic situation.

We understand that this is not only a very emotional time for you, but is very distressing to your child as well. We are very well versed in the evidentiary issues that are involved in child abuse cases and take full advantage of the statutes and laws that protect children from having to tell their story over and over or to be present in court.

If your child has been the victim of Florida child neglect or abuse, or child sexual abuse please contact Mallard Perez.
When you schedule a free, confidential consultation, we will help you understand what to do now and how a Florida child abuse case works. You can also order a FREE copy of Damian's book When the Unthinkable Happens: Your Guide to Florida Child Abuse Claims. Let us help you protect your child’s right to a safe and happy childhood.
Damian Mallard, Esq.
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Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney