West Virginia Child Endangerment Attorney

Child Abuse and Child Neglect Lawyers

Have you been accused of endangering the welfare of a child in West Virginia? Were you charged with child endangerment? If so, the child abuse attorneys at Isner Law Office are here to help. We can answer your questions and provide legal advice to help ensure you have the information you need to make the best decisions for your family’s future. If needed, our child abuse lawyers offer legal representation in a court of law to help protect your rights.

What is Child Endangerment?

Child endangerment can include any act or failure to act by a parent or caregiver that results in harm, the potential for harm, or the threat of harm. Notably, no actual harm needs to occur.

Child endangerment may include:

Child Abuse – Deliberate and intentional action/s of a parent or caregiver that cause harm, the potential for harm, or the threat of harm

Child Neglect – Failure to provide for needs, protect from harm, or protect from potential harm

Child neglect is considered under the general category of child abuse. In any case, harm to the child need NOT be the intended consequence. In West Virginia, the criminal penalties for child neglect resulting in, and creating a risk of, injury can be quite severe.

General Child Endangerment In WV

Child Abuse & Child Neglect

Child endangerment is a broad term that may include acts of both child abuse and neglect. Under West Virginia law, child abuse itself is broadly defined to include deliberate and intentional acts, as well as acts of omission classified generally as child neglect. It may also include allowing someone else to inflict harm on a child and/or cause a risk of harm to a child. These may include:

-A parent or guardian knowingly or intentionally inflicting physical, mental, or emotional injury on a child in the home

-A parent or guardian knowingly or intentionally allowing another to inflict physical, mental, or emotional injury on a child in the home

-Physical injury of a child from excessive corporal punishment

-Negligent treatment of a child

-Sexual abuse or exploitation of a child

-Sale or attempted sale of a child

-Domestic violence in the home of a child

-Any circumstance which harms or threatens the health and welfare of a child

Serious Child Endangerment

Criminal Acts of Child Abuse In WV

While all acts of child endangerment and abuse are considered significant and may lead to criminal charges and the involvement of Child Protective Services, some specific actions and acts of negligence related to child abuse are classified as serious, especially reprehensible, or heinous in West Virginia. These carry specific, severe criminal penalties as prescribed by law. These include:

-Causing the death of a child by intentionally physical abuse

-Parental failure to prevent the death of a child by intentional physical abuse

-Child neglect resulting in death

-Causing a child to be physically injured

-Allowing a child to be physically injured

-Child neglect resulting in bodily injury

-Sexual abuse of a child by a parent or guardian

-Sexual abuse of a child by any person in a position of trust with the child

-Female genital mutilation of a child

-Female genital circumcision of a child

-Providing false information about a child’s injury to medical professionals

Domestic Violence Victims

The “Catch-22” of Child Endangerment Charges

Although the legal system means well, sometimes laws meant to help can make an already tough situation even more difficult. In some cases, adult victims of domestic violence may be shocked to find themselves facing child endangerment charges after seeking medical help for serious injuries. In addition, because domestic violence in the home of a child constitutes child abuse under West Virginia law, the situation can be frustratingly complicated for victims of domestic abuse. This DOES NOT mean that you shouldn’t seek medical treatment or help for you and your child. By doing that, you would be making the situation much worse. So, what can you do?

Get the Help You Need to Keep Yourself and Your Children Safe

If you have concerns related to how a frightening situation of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse in your home may impact your life and that of your child, contact the child abuse attorneys at Isner Law Office immediately. We can help you escape the situation, develop a safety plan until you are able to escape, and access the resources you need to help keep yourself and your children safer, without placing yourself and your child at risk of further harm.

Are You or Your Child In Immediate Danger?

If you feel unsafe in your home and need immediate help, call 911 or your local law enforcement agency. For additional assistance, including help planning for your family’s safety, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Check out the Domestic Violence Resources located at the bottom of this page for additional help.

West Virginia Child Endangerment, Child Abuse, and Child Sex Abuse Reform

From 2017 through 2020, many new laws related to child endangerment, child abuse, sexual assault, and sexual abuse upon a minor took effect in West Virginia. The legal Code of West Virginia has been updated to reflect the new laws, including those summarized below. View the current WV Code by hovering over the yellow “STATE LAW” tab near the top of the West Virginia State Legislature’s website page and clicking on the “WEST VIRGINIA CODE” link that appears.

Emmaleigh’s Law

As of 2017, the penalty for a parent, guardian, or any other person convicted of child abuse that causes death was doubled. With the passage of Emmaleigh’s Law, conviction increased from 10-40 years to the current sentence of 20-80 years of imprisonment.

Criminal Penalties for Child Abuse Increased

In 2019, the West Virginia House and Senate determined that those found guilty of injuring a child or creating a risk of injury to a child must be more heavily penalized as felonies in all cases. Those determined to have injured a child will now be fined to pay the state $100 to $1,000 with relocation to state prison for a minimum of 2 to 10 years (twice as long as the previous one to five-year penalty). Those found to have caused serious injury to a child now face a $1,000 to $5,000 fine and 5 to 15 years state confinement, while those determined to create a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death to a child will be fined up to $3,000 and imprisoned for 5 to 15 years for repeat offenses. The penalty assessed by the state for gross neglect which creates this risk has also been increased to a $100 to $1,000 fine and/or up-to 2 years relocation to state prison for a first offense. Read More

WV Statute of Limitations Extended

Child Sexual Abuse Civil Suits

The amended and reenacted statute §55-2-15 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931 modifies and extends the statute of limitations for civil actions filed by survivors of sexual abuse or sexual assault upon a minor. Under this new law, survivors of child sexual assault and abuse in West Virginia are able to file an initial lawsuit 4 years after the discovery of the incident/s (following recovery of memory repressed due to trauma) or 36 years old (whichever is longer). Civil lawsuits may now be filed against sexual assault and sexual abuse perpetrators, as well as any person or organization which aided, abetted, or concealed such abuse (including such entities as churches, the Boy Scouts of America, and other institutions of public trust).

List of WV Mandatory Reporters Updated

In June 2018, the list of those required by law to report known and suspected child abuse and neglect was expanded and clarified to include “Any medical, dental, or mental health professional, Christian Science practitioner, religious healer, school teacher or other school personnel, social service worker, child care or foster care worker, emergency medical services personnel, peace officer or law-enforcement official, humane officer, member of the clergy, circuit court judge, family court judge, an employee of the Division of Juvenile Services, magistrate, youth camp administrator or counselor, employee, coach or volunteer of an entity that provides organized activities for children, or commercial film or photographic print processor who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is neglected or abused, including sexual abuse or sexual assault, or observes the child being subjected to conditions that are likely to result in abuse or neglect.” The timeframe to report was also reduced from 48 hours to 24 hours.

Domestic Violence Resources – West Virginia

Are you in an abusive relationship? Do you need immediate help? Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Contact Isner Law Office

Facing Child Endangerment Charges?


Isner Law Office offers professional legal guidance and representation you can trust. We can help protect your rights when accused of child abuse, child neglect, child endangerment, and related allegations in West Virginia. Contact Isner Law Office today to schedule a consultation. We can answer all of your questions and help you get started. Call Isner Law Office at (304) 636-7681.