Child Abuse Laws in Maine: These are Child Abuse laws for the State of Maine
The National Children’s Alliance reported that there are nearly 700,000 children who are abused in the United States every year. Child abuse or neglect is a threat to a child's health or welfare by physical, mental, or emotional injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, deprivation of essential needs, or lack of protection from these. Child neglect is the failure of caregivers or parents to provide for a child’s basic needs, such as food, water, shelter, education, health care, or supervision to prevent the child from being harmed. Every state, including Maine, prosecutes adults who display these behaviors and can remove a child from your home for abuse or neglect to protect the child.
Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
In the state of Maine, like the other states in the U.S, it requires certain people who usually come into personal contact with children to report any suspected or observed child abuse or neglect. It is mandatory for these individuals to be reporters. Some states, like Texas, make it an essential thing that everyone is obligated to report child abuse. If an individual is, for example, a medical professional or school employee in Maine, then their employer has probably already trained you about mandatory reporting.
The penalties vary from person to person, but a defendant could be looking at probation or years in prison for his or her actions.
Individuals who work in the following occupations must report child abuse:
- Medical physicians, EMS workers, medical examiners, dentists, chiropractors, and nurses
- Psychologists and mental health professionals
- Licensing board chairs
- Teachers, counselors, school bus drivers, and child care workers
- Summer camp administrators and counselors
- Social workers, sexual assault and domestic violence lawyers, guardian, and clergy
- Police, firefighters, code enforcement workers, and animal welfare officers
- Commercial film processors
Anyone else can report child abuse.
If an individual fails to report suspected child abuse when you’re a mandated reporter is a civil violation with a fine of not more than $500.
Penalties against child abuse in Maine
The Maine code 254 defines three degrees of the criminal sexual abuse of minors, each with associated punishments. The degree of the crime is dependent on the details of the crime committed, with higher degrees of the charge generally receiving harsher punishments.
- Class B (Statutory) - If sexual abuse and penetration is involved, the penalty for this act is up to 10 years in prison
- Class C (statutory)- If the crime against the child was acted out by a family member or the criminal was ten years older than the child, he/she is liable to be punished for up to 5 years.
- Class D(statutory) - If the crime was committed against a child who is under 18 and the criminal is a school employee. Or when the victim is 14 or 15, and the offender is five years older. The punishment is usually one year in prison.
Maine law allows sexual abuse of minors to be enforced as a legal charge. It means that this charge can be applied to cases in which the victim is younger than the Maine Age of Consent, even if the victim willingly engages in sexual relations with the defendant. Sexual Abuse of minors is a charge that is unique to Maine. Crimes that would be prosecuted as sexual abuse of children in Maine will be prosecuted under a different statute depending on the state in which the offense takes place.