Child Abuse Laws in Hawaii: These are the Child Abuse Laws for the State of Hawaii
Child abuse refers to the abuse or mistreatment of children which can be physical abuse or mental abuse. More sadly, it relates to sexual crimes against children. Child abuse is a severe problem, as in most cases it is done by a known person. Some children are too small even to understand what is going on. Others can get severely traumatized, and this can affect their physical and mental health. This is the reason why stringent laws are in place to act against child abuse.
The following are the child abuse laws in the state of Hawaii.
The law in Hawaii dealing with child abuse is HI Rev Stat 350 – 1
Hawaii Code DIVISION 1. GOVERNMENT TITLE 20. SOCIAL SERVICES 350. Child Abuse
The Department of Social Services is the authority for receiving reports and taking action on issues of child abuse in Hawaii. They can be contacted on 1-808-832-5300. Alternately they can reach the police station to report such cases.
Child abuse definition
Child abuse or neglect is defined as an act or omissions of a person related to, staying with or responsible for the child’s care that leads to physical or psychological harm for a child.
For this definition, one who is under the age of eighteen are considered as a ‘child’.
Following would be considered as child abuse in Hawaii:
- When the child has evidence of injury or bleeding, malnutrition, burns, fracture, poisoning, hematoma, swelling of soft tissue, emotional distress, failure to thrive, degradation or death; when any of the above has not happened accidentally.
- Sexual contact or conduct with a child including incest, molestation, fondling, prostitution, pornographic filming,
- Not providing a child with food, shelter, clothing, physical care, health care, etc.
- Providing dangerous drugs to a child.
Reporting child abuse in Hawaii
Any instance of child abuse that comes to notice must be reported by a physician or health practitioner or pharmacist, school employee, law enforcement agency members, providers of child care. An oral report must first be given to the department or the police, followed by a detailed written description. Failure to report will be treated as a petty misdemeanor.
Any person can report an instance of child abuse coming to their notice.
Confidentiality and Disclosure of child abuse in Hawaii
All reports to the Child abuse department should be treated as confidential. Anyone who discloses details is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Photos of injury, trauma can be taken in good faith by a nurse, physician, social worker or police officer. This shall be forwarded to the department immediately.
The medical records of the child shall be disclosed to the parents and the child's physician by the department. Otherwise, all files should be kept confidential.
Action against child abuse
On receiving a report on child abuse, the department shall act on it as per their rules. They shall report the same to the police department. The name of the person who reported the abuse could be kept confidential.
The police shall take action as per the applicable criminal laws. Where required, the department shall commit the child to foster care. The State of Hawaii has a Sex abuse treatment center where they can undergo treatment if needed.
The department should maintain a registry of child abuse as well as child neglect cases. If the report is found not valid or has been dismissed by a court, then the records shall be expunged.
All privileges like spousal, victim-counselor, psychologist-client, and physician-patient cannot be used to exclude any evidence during hearings of cases on child abuse.