Child Abuse Laws in Wisconsin: These are Child Abuse laws for the State of Wisconsin
Child abuse is a serious crime and almost universally is treated with seriousness and carries severe penalties. Physical, mental and sexual abuse of children and even their neglect can affect them physically and emotionally. Hence, Governments take all measures to prevent this and take action if it happens.
The following is the law in the State of Wisconsin that deals with child abuse.
The Wisconsin Law
Wisconsin has framed the child abuse statutes to deal with cases of child abuse. The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families is the authority that deals with child abuse and makes all effort to curb child abuse.
Definitions of child abuse
A child is defined as one who is below the age of eighteen years.
Abuse is defined as physical or mental abuses done with or without knowledge of the parent. It also refers to the sexual abuse of exploitation — sale of a child, Domestic violence against a child, injury due to corporal punishment.
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 Wisconsin:
- When the child has evidence of injury or bleeding, burns, fracture, poisoning, hematoma, swelling of soft tissue, emotional distress, 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,
- Neglect of the child Not providing a child with food, shelter, clothing, physical care, health care, etc.
Reporting child abuse in Wisconsin
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 report. Failure to report will be treated as a misdemeanor and can lead to imprisonment for six months and jail sentence.
Any person can report an instance of child abuse coming to their notice.
Action when discovering 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 child welfare department or the county police department can initiate action when a report is made.
The name of the person who reported the abuse could be kept confidential.
Criminal action can be taken as per the criminal law of Wisconsin state. Depending on the type of crime, the following sections of the penal code can be applied leading to criminal action:
- Intentionally causing bodily harm: This is a Class H felony and is punishable by up to 12 years of jail and $25,000 fine.
- Recklessly causing bodily harm: This is a Class I felony and can be punished by imprisonment for up to three years and a fine of $10,000. Recklessly causing great bodily harm would be a Class E felony with up to 15 years prison and $50,000 fine.
- Child neglect: This is also a crime under the statutes and would be considered as a Class H felony. If this leads to mental trauma for the child, it would be a Class G felony with ten years in prison and $1,000 fine. If the child dies due to the neglect, then it is a Class D felony and is punishable by imprisonment of up to 25 years in prison with $100,000 fine.