Child Abuse vs. Neglect in Florida

Child abuse and child neglect often go hand in hand. However, there is a vast difference between the two. Both are serious offenses, and defendants who have been wrongly charged with either one, or both, need to contact a West Palm Beach attorney as soon as possible to not only protect their own rights, but to protect their ability to continue caring for their child or children. On top of criminal penalties, child abuse and child neglect defendants face losing their parenting privileges.

Child Neglect

According to Florida statute 827.03, child neglect is a caregiver’s failure to provide supervision, care, protection, or other necessary services related to a child’s physical or mental well-being. A recent example of child neglect in Florida occurred when a Southport, Florida couple was arrested on child neglect charges, stemming from an allegation that they failed to provide dental care for their daughter, who was suffering from 17 rotten teeth. Their daughter had been complaining about tooth pain for a long time, and school officials had asked the parents to provide dental help for more than a year. Permission slips were sent home with the girl, which would have allowed her to see a dentist for free, yet the parents refused to sign the slips. Many of her teeth were ruptured and decaying, while here overall dental condition was considered medically severe. And, her adult teeth had begun to come in and overlap her rotten baby teeth, causing pain that had the girl asking for soft foods to eat, such as bananas, according to People. Child neglect, without causing serious harm, is a third degree felony, while child neglect resulting in serious bodily or mental harm is a second degree felony.

Child Abuse

According to People, a Florida couple was arrested for aggravated child abuse, in addition to other charges included premeditated homicide and child neglect, when the dead body of their three-year-old was found in the woods. The boyfriend of the mother allegedly kicked the little girl in the head and locked her in a closet, actions that lead to her death, for misbehaving. The mother allegedly had a role in locking her in the closet as well. Child abuse is the intentional infliction of physical or mental harm on a child, encouragement of another to do so, or committing an act that would likely result in injuries. Aggravated child abuse, on the other hand, is the willful torture, aggravated battery, malicious punishment, or willful and unlawful caging of a child. Additionally, it is considered aggravated child abuse when abuse causes great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement. Aggravated child abuse is a first degree felony, while child abuse without causing serious harm is a third degree felony.

Contact a West Palm Beach Attorney Today

Whether you have been charged with child abuse or child neglect of any degree, it is important to seek legal defense at once. Contact the West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers of the Skier Law Firm today at (561) 820-1508.

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