Many instances of child abuse are tied to excessive use of corporal punishment. That is, the parent goes beyond disciplining a child for bad behavior and veers straight into outright inflicting pain. Repeated instances of spanking or hitting are common, as well as cases where the child is kept in their room and barred from doing things outside for a set period, like eating dinner with the family.
In the face of these allegations, many defendants have come up with ways to prove their innocence. These arguments can range from claims of simple misunderstanding, to outright justifications about why they did it. Below are just three common claims against child abuse charges.
Corporal punishment has been around for most of human history, maybe even longer. It’s been around so long, in fact, that different cultures have their own take on how to implement it and how important it is for maintaining family relationships. It is a reason why many people facing child abuse charges related to disciplining their children will claim that it is part of their culture. That is, the parents grew up in an environment where parents are obligated to correct their children through physical means. This defense is slowly being undermined as governments across the world are slowly adapting the principle that corporal punishment is an abuse of children’s rights.
Some defendants justify their actions by claiming that they only acted within their limits. For example, a parent may claim that they only intended to spank their child as a warning; they did not intend to cause long-term physical pain. Defendants may think that they enacted a punishment proportional to what the child deserves. However, there are instances where the defendant clearly acted beyond what is proportional to a child’s misbehavior, i.e., striking the child for whining about not getting a toy instead of just reprimanding them.
This particular argument contends that the corporal punishment itself did not cause harm to the child; instead it was inflicted due to an accident that happened during or after the fact. For example, the defendant may claim that the child hit their head while trying to run away from a spanking, causing severe injury. While this can explain away light bruises or bumps, it will have a hard time standing in court if more severe harm is present (like visible wounds and cuts, or outright life-threatening injuries).
Defending against a child abuse charge can be difficult, but it does not mean one has to resort to common defenses to get a dismissal. Speak to a veteran domestic violence attorney and find a more effective way to prove innocence.