Child Abuse Laws in Washington: These are the Child Abuse Laws for the State of Washington
Shockingly, the findings of a recent survey have proven that more than 3 million cases of child abuses are reported every year in the U.S.A. Child abuse can be in the form of physical, mental, emotional or sexual. In the U.S.A., every state has its laws to protect children from child abuse.
Like all the other states in the U.S.A., child abuse is held as a severe threat in the state of Washington. In Washington, child abuse is defined as an intentional mental or physical injury by parents or caregivers which may include neglect, deprivation, sexual abuse, harmful disciplinary techniques, abandonment, or using children for sex.
A mandated reporter is a person who has frequent access to children whose duty is to report credible cases of child abuse to the state. Every state has assigned mandated reporters who generally include teachers, social workers, police and medical professionals who are required to report cases of child abuse. Washington too has its allocated share of mandated reporters who are assigned their duty and failure of fulfilling their duty is charged as a misdemeanor. Cases of child abuse or neglect can be reported to Washington’s child abuse hotline at 1-866-END-HARM (1-866-363-4276).
Child abuse laws in Washington
There are laws for different forms of child abuse in Washington. They are as follows:
Neglect- deemed as the most common form of child maltreatment, negligence occurs when the parent or caregiver:
- Fails to provide food, clothing, and shelter
- Fails to provide adequate education, medical or mental health
- Fails to protect the child from harm or a situation that might endanger the child
- Fails to initiate education as required by the state law
- Cause emotional damage to a child
- Fails to determine continual physical or sexual abuse of the child
Child physical abuse
Physical abuse is defined as an infliction of bodily injury on a child by the child’s parents or caregivers, or when they threaten the child to do substantial harm.
Child mental abuse
Mental abuse is defined when a parent or caregiver inflicts harm that can affect the mental health of a child to the extent that it can impair the normal mental functioning of the child.
Child sexual abuse
Sexual abuse is a case when the child is a victim of a criminal sexual act or is threatened in the act committed by a person who is responsible for the care of the child, a person who has a relationship with the child or only a person who has authority.
There are some key terms in Washington child abuse laws. They are:
- Necessities of life- this includes shelter, food, clothing, water, and health care
- Bodily injury- this includes physical injury or impairment
- Substantial body harm- this includes injury which may consist of fracture or disfigurement
- Great bodily harm- this includes injury that may create a high chance of death or cause permanent disfigurement
Penalties for child abuse in Washington
- Criminal mistreatment in the first degree is recognized as a Class B felony which is punishable to a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment and a fine up to $20,000
- Criminal mistreatment in the second degree is recognized as a Class C felony which is punishable to a maximum of 5 years of imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000
- Criminal mistreatment in the third degree is recognized as a gross misdemeanor which is punishable to a maximum of 364 days of imprisonment in county jail and a fine up to $5000
- Criminal mistreatment in the fourth degree is recognized as a gross misdemeanor which is punishable to a maximum of 90 days of imprisonment in county jail and a fine up to $1000