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NCJ Number: 95037 Find in a Library
Title: Nurse and the Legal System - Dealing With Abused Children (From Nursing Care of Victims of Family Violence, P 384-402, 1984, by Jacquelyn Campbell and Janice Humphreys - See NCJ-95025)
Author(s): J U Munro
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Reston Publishing Co, Inc
Reston, VA 22090
Sale Source: Reston Publishing Co, Inc
11480 Sunset Hills Road
Reston, VA 22090
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Child abuse law is traced from its historical roots to modern child protection laws, and the responsibilities and roles of the nurses in abuse cases within the judical system are examined.
Abstract: Ambivalence about the applicability of laws against murder and assault to child victims can be seen in the practice of infanticide, which was condoned even in 19th century England, in the exploitation of child labor, and in the sanctioned use of corporal punishment. Existing criminal law against assault and battery, murder and manslaughter, and sexual assault can be used to charge child abusers. However, criminal prosecution of child abuse cases is not that common. It is difficult to prove child abuse in criminal court, and criminal prosecution is often used only in extreme cases. Generally speaking, State welfare laws provide a mechanism for bringing cases to the attention of the court. If abusive parents agree to accept services and if risk to the child can be reduced, there is no need for court intervention. If intervention is deemed necessary, the protective services worker or other authorized person files a petition with the court. Child welfare laws also provide for the emergency removal of a child from the home without a hearing, procedures for adjudication, and disposition in cases where the danger to the child is less imminent. Nurses are required by law to report cases of suspected child abuse and neglect. Reporting laws provide penalties for failure to make a mandated report and also give immunity from civil and criminal liabilities to those reporting in good faith. In addition to reporting responsibilities, the nurse may fill two roles in the legal system. In the recordkeeping role, the nurse can fully document and preserve evidence of abuse or neglect for trial and treatment. The nurse also may be called upon to testify in court, either regarding observations of the child and the injuries or as an expert witness. A total of 42 notes are given.
Index Term(s): Child abuse and neglect hearings; Child abuse reporting statutes; Child protection laws; Child welfare
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