Threats and Violence against Children by Parents
Domestic violence and abuse comes in many shapes and forms. It doesn’t have to be physical – threats and emotional abuse will also qualify as offenses of violence against children under Arizona laws. Children are protected against abuse and violence in the family. There are various child abandonment and neglect, as well as physical abuse laws, all of them crafted to protect the most vulnerable members of society.
How are Violence and Threats Defined in Arizona Statutes?
Domestic violence in Arizona is a very broad concept and it doesn’t have to be physical in order to get prosecuted. A few of the most common types of domestic violence against children include the following:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Abandonment by a parent
- Sexual abuse and sexual exploitation
- Parental neglect
- Inflicting mental injury on a child
- Threatening and intimidation
- Disorderly conduct
All of these types of domestic violence against children are outlined in Arizona Revised Statutes section 13-3601. Under the state law, both civil and criminal protections are available for children who are subjected to domestic violence by their parents.
Several types of protection can be employed whenever a parent is found guilty of submitting a child to domestic violence.
A protective order is one of the most common options employed. The order, also called a restraining order sometimes, features detailed provisions pertaining to what a parent (or another abusive family member) can and cannot do. This is a civil order that puts an end to abusive behaviors or that prevents a family member from contacting their victims.
Parents and children who are victims of domestic violence are entitled to getting a protective order.
The Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) is also a viable option in Arizona. ACP provides the victim or victims with a legal substitute address that can be used instead of a physical address. This way, an abuser will have no information about the current whereabouts of family members.
Civil lawsuits and child custody orders are two more options that can be used to prevent a parent from abusing their children. A custody order can be modified on the basis of the parent’s behavior in order to keep children safe (whenever evidence of threats or abuse becomes available for, example).
Depending on the nature of the abuse charges, a parent could also face criminal charges. Domestic violence will be classified either as a misdemeanor or as a felony depending on the severity of the abuse. Repeat offenders are also likely to face much more serious penalties than people who are found guilty of violence against their children for the first time.
A quick example of the penalties is provides here:
- Child neglect will usually result in a Class 1 misdemeanor charge in Arizona. The penalties are up to six months in prison, three years of probation and a fine of 2,500 dollars.
- Intentional child neglect or abandonment will result in Class 2 felony charges. The penalties are a minimum of four years in prison and a hefty fine.
Whenever abuse is suspected on behalf of parents, both children and family members can contact the Arizona Department of Child Safety. The department has an abuse hotline – 1-888-SOS-CHILD (767-2445). This hotline should be utilized when the abuse hasn’t resulted in an emergency. If the case is an emergency one, 911 should be called.
The department of child safety is responsible for enforcing legal protections defined in Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3620. Anyone who has reasonable belief that violence or threats have occurred should file a report. After a report is received, a local Department of Child Safety expert will be assigned to interview the affected children (as well as people who can provide additional information like siblings, relatives, nannies, teachers, etc.). If there’s evidence enough of abuse, a field specialist will be appointed to carry out a more thorough investigation. The parent suspected of abuse will be notified of the results and what it will take to appeal the DCS findings.