Child Abuse Laws in Louisiana: These are the Child Abuse Laws in Louisiana
Child abuse is something that usually happens behind closed doors, but it is a severe and widespread issue. The National Children’s Alliance reported that there are nearly 700,000 children who are abused in the United States every year.
The actions that seriously endanger the physical, mental, or emotional health of a child, including activities such as infliction or allowing infliction or attempted pain of physical or psychological injury; exploitation by overwork; sexual abuse or involvement in pornography. These actions are considered child abuse.
The state of Louisiana's child abuse statutes states that it is illegal to physically, emotionally, or sexually abuse minors. Under the laws in Louisiana, certain third parties and professionals who have easy access to children, such as teachers and pediatricians, are required to report any knowledge or suspicion of abuse to the legal authorities. The Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services also coordinates statewide efforts to curb and reduce child abuse and states that one of their primary goals is "working to keep children safe."
What constitutes child abuse?
Acts or actions that constitute child abuse are widespread in the United States than most people realize. There are reports that state that every year, there are more than 3 million reports of child abuse, which involves almost 6 million children. Every day, four or five children have been reported to be killed by child abuse or neglect.
You know that the child may be experiencing physical abuse if he or she:
- Has physical injuries that appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt
- Is always aware and “on alert,” as if waiting for something wrong to happen
- Has frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts
- Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home
Reporting child abuse in Louisiana
Reporting child abuse is mandatory according to the state law in Louisiana, which requires people to report suspected child abuse that takes place by any health practitioner, mental health practitioner, teacher or child care provider, police officer, and photographic print processor, and clergy. The penalty for the failure to report or for false reporting of child abuse by these individuals will result in a misdemeanor, up to $500, and six months in jail.
Anyone who suspects that child abuse is taking place has a responsibility to report it for the investigation to ensure that the child receives proper medical and psychiatric care as soon as possible. These suspicions are to be reported to the local child protection unit of the Department of Social Services in your area.
Child neglect law
It means the refusal or unreasonable failure of a parent or caretaker to supply the child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, care, treatment, or counseling for any injury, illness, or condition of the child, as a result of which the child's physical, mental, or emotional health and safety is substantially threatened or impaired. Neglect includes prenatal neglect. The failure or inability of a parent or caretaker to provide for a child due to inadequate financial resources shall not be considered negligence. Nothing prohibits the court from ordering medical services for the child when there is a substantial risk of harm to the child's health or welfare.
Criteria for Acceptance of a Report
Not every report of suspected child abuse or neglect is accepted for investigation. Reports must meet the following standards:
- an alleged child victim who is under the age of 18 years,
- alleged abuse or neglect by a caretaker and
- the reporter has reason to believe that there is a substantial risk of harm to the child’s welfare such as:
> the abuse or neglect have already occurred, and the child’s physical, mental or emotional health is severely damaged by the action or inaction of the caretaker or
> the reporter has either observed first hand the abuse or neglect or has first-hand knowledge of the abuse or neglect.