Unfortunately, child abuse by injury in Oklahoma happens, especially for families trapped in patterns of violence and abuse. The crime is considered a serious one in Oklahoma, which has a number of statutes regarding child abuse. Here is what you need to know about child abuse by injury in Oklahoma City.
Child Abuse Defined
Child abuse by injury is a type of child abuse. In Oklahoma, child abuse is legally defined as willful or malicious threatened or actual harm to a child, or the failure to protect a child from real or threatened harm to their health, safety, or welfare. One prong of this statute covers the actual perpetrator, the other prong covers the enabler. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 843.5
The statute is broad in scope and meant to cover a broad spectrum of situations. While this statute encompasses major trauma to a child, it can also include such things as starving a child, preventing adequate healthcare when it is needed, and hitting or striking a child. It can also include mental or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
Specifics under the statute include:
Neglect: The failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care, supervision or other necessities of life.
Physical Abuse: The non-accidental physical injury of a child.
Sexual Abuse: All sexual activity with a child, including the propositioning of a child to engage in sexual contact.
Mental Or Emotional Abuse: Emotional injury to a child sustained through continued rejection, criticism, isolation, or exploitation.
The Prohibition Against Child Abuse By Injury In Oklahoma City
All forms of child abuse are prohibited. Oklahoma law prohibits a parent or other caregiver from willfully or maliciously engaging in child abuse.
The crime is a felony in Oklahoma City. It is punishable by anywhere from up to a year in jail to life in prison. A fine between $500 and $5,000 may be assessed in addition to or in lieu of incarceration.
Enabling Child Abuse In Oklahoma City Is Also a Crime
Enabling child abuse is defined by Oklahoma law as causing, procuring, or permitting any willful or malicious act or the threat of harm to a child. This includes the failure to protect a child from harm. If you authorize or allow a person to care for your child either knowing or you reasonably should know that the child will be placed at risk for abuse, you will have permitted child abuse. Thus, you can be prosecuted.
Thus, a parent who knows that the other parent is willfully hurting the child or sexually abusing the child and turns a blind eye to that abuse can be prosecuted under this law. The same is true even if the parent doesn’t actually know, but reasonably should have known.
For example, at a father is spanking a child and the mother knows about the spanking. While spanking itself is allowed, spanking that causes injury is not.
If the mother later sees welts or bruising on the child’s buttocks or thighs, she now reasonably should know that the father may do so again. As such, the mother cannot allow this to happen again or she may be prosecuted along with the father.
Defenses Are Available
The crime is grounded in a non-accidental injury. The injury must be made knowingly or maliciously. Any fact or piece of evidence that goes toward disproving this element provides a defense. Okla. Stat. tit. 10A § 1-1-105
Let’s say a child is injured when a parent takes him skateboarding in the park. The injury occurs because of a fall off the skateboard. The fall is accidental; thus, there is no crime.
Being a parent is never easy. When a child presents to a doctor with suspicious injuries, the doctor is required to report. Often, the abuse is within the control of a parent.
However, in both cases, it is important for the parent to contact an experienced Oklahoma City attorney. In this way, help can be obtained and all members of the household can remain safe.
Free Consultation: Oklahoma City Criminal Defense Attorney
Our lawyer is well positioned to advise you accordingly, as he has the necessary training and experience. He has the wit and tenacity to match the skill of the Oklahoma City prosecutors.
For a free consultation with an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney, call Wirth Law Office – Oklahoma City at 405-888-5400.
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