West Virginia Child Abuse Attorney

Child Abuse and Child Neglect Lawyers

The abuse of a child is one of the most devastating and tragic events that happens every day in our country. Child abuse leaves innocent victims scarred for life, both physically and emotionally. It is crucial for these children to understand that they are not alone, and the abuse is not their fault. Child abuse cases can be very challenging, which is why it is important to get the help of an experienced child abuse attorney to guide you through the process. The attorneys at Isner Law Office in Elkins, WV understand the issues related to child abuse and neglect, and can answer your questions, and provide the legal advice you need. Call Isner Law Office at (304) 636-7681.

What Constitutes Child Abuse?

Child abuse is defined as anything that puts a child’s emotional and/or physical health and development in danger. The abuse can be anything from physical or emotional abuse to sexual abuse and neglect.

– Physical child abuse is anything that results in a non-accidental injury to the child, such as: shaking, kicking, hitting, burning, or any other type of bodily harm.

– Emotional child abuse occurs when the abuser exhibits a behavior or attitude that will interfere with the mental health or social development of that child. This can include vulgar language, shouting or yelling at the child, making fun of, belittling, or degrading the child.

– Sexual abuse refers to any sexual act that occurs between an adult and a child. This includes exhibitionism, sexual videos, games, pictures, or other images, forced viewing of sexual acts, or any other lewd behavior.

– Neglect occurs when the caretaker fails to provide the children with the proper items for their development or physical needs. This includes improper supervision, unsafe housing, inadequate food or clothing, negligent medical care, or poor hygiene.

If you, or someone you know, have been injured by child abuse, do not hesitate to see if you have a case against the abuser. Attorney Phil Isner will evaluate the details of your claim and advise you on the best way to proceed.

How Do You Recognize Child Abuse?

Signs of child abuse and neglect usually fall into four categories: physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. It is important to understand, however, that these types of abuse are more typically found in combination than alone. Some signs often associated with particular types of abuse include:

Signs of Physical Abuse

– Unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones, or black eyes

– Fading bruises or other marks noticeable after an absence from school

– Seems frightened of the parents and protests or cries when it is time to go home

– Shrinks at the approach of adults

– Reports injury by a parent or another adult caregiver

Signs of Neglect

– Frequently absent from school

– Begs or steals food or money

– Lacks needed medical or dental care, immunizations, or glasses

– Consistently dirty and has severe body odor

– Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather

– Abuses alcohol or other drugs

– States that there is no one at home to provide care

Signs of Sexual Abuse

– Difficulty walking or sitting

– Suddenly refuses to change for gym or to participate in physical activities

– Reports nightmares or bedwetting

– Experiences a sudden change in appetite

– Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior

– Becomes pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, particularly in under age 14

– Runs away

– Reports sexual abuse by a parent or another adult caregiver

Signs of Emotional Maltreatment

– Shows extremes in behavior, such as overly compliant or demanding behavior, extreme passivity, or aggression

– Is either inappropriately adult (parenting other children, for example) or inappropriately infantile (frequently rocking or head-banging, for example)

– Is delayed in physical or emotional development

– Has attempted suicide

– A lack of attachment to the parent

Who Needs to Report Child Abuse?

In West Virginia, certain persons whose occupation brings them into contact with children on a regular basis are mandated to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Mandated reporters include:

– Medical, dental, or mental health professionals

– Religious healers or Christian Science practitioners

– Clergy

– School and childcare teachers or staff

– Social workers

– EMTs, cops, judges, magistrates, and juvenile justice employees

– Youth camp staff, coaches, or volunteers at kids’ organizations

It’s also mandatory to report suspected or observed sexual abuse to police or DHS within 48 hours.

Reporting Child Abuse

Child abuse is a terrible crime. Any individual concerned for a child can report child abuse or neglect. If you suspect a child under the age of 18 is being abused or neglected, or is at risk for abuse or neglect, you should make a report to DHHR’s Centralized Intake and your local law enforcement agency. Centralized Intake, the WV Child Abuse Hotline number, is 1-800-352-6513 and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Consult a Trusted West Virginia Attorney

Abuse suffered by a child can cause lifelong trauma. Many parents regularly entrust the care of their children to other adults, with the assumption that their children will be treated appropriately. Unfortunately, some adults who are trusted to care for children commit horrific acts of abuse that irreparably harm the children whom they are meant to protect. If your child suffered physical or sexual abuse, it is important to consult an attorney to discuss your potential claims. The trusted attorneys of Isner Law Office are aware of the devastating impact that physical or sexual abuse of a child can have on a family. We will help you gain closure and move forward with your lives. We represent people throughout North Central West Virginia. Contact Attorney Phil Isner to set up a confidential meeting to discuss how we can assist you. Call Isner Law Office at (304) 636-7681.