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    The Necessity of Increasing Penalties for Child Abuse in Order to Ensure the Safety of Children Everywhere

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    You are walking down the street and see a little girl with bruises all up and down her arms. Many people would just think it is a little girl who probably just fell off of her bike. The sad truth is though, that the girl is being abused at home. Did you know that every ten seconds someone is committing such crimes (Child Help 3)? Even more alarming than that, more than five children die every day as a result of child abuse and neglect. While some penalties for child abuse are sufficient, other penalties need to be increased for the safety of children everywhere.

    Many people may not fully understand what child neglect is. According to the NCANDS, National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, neglect is a type of maltreatment that refers to the failure by the caregiver to provide needed, age-appropriate care although financially able to do so or offered financial or others means to do so” (USDHHS 2007). Neglect is often characterized as physical, educational, emotional, or medical. Many of these cases are often recognized by teachers or people who are close to the child, such as their family. Some indicators to these people identifying the neglect may be; bad hygiene, weight gain, being absent from school too frequently, and not enough medical care.

    In Ohio if a person is committed to the crime of child neglect, that person is typically required to do two hundred hours of community service along with possible fines. According to state regulations, if a person does not finish the community service, then that person may be sentenced to a term in jail (F IV). Section 2951.02 of the Revised Code states under the community control sanction that “If a court suspends an offender’s driver’s or commercial driver’s license or permit or nonresident operating privilege under division (E)(5)(d) of this section, the period of the suspension shall be consecutive to, and commence after, the period of suspension of the offender’s driver’s or commercial driver’s license or permit or nonresident operating privilege that is imposed under Chapter 4506., 4509., 4510., or 4511. Of the Revised Code” (G 1). This law makes no sense seeing as though the only thing it is doing is preventing an offender from driving him or herself anywhere.

    Penalties in Oklahoma are strict and very well should be. Oklahoma laws state that “Protection of children” is public policy (7102). Section C of 10 Okl. 7102 says that “Any parent or other person who shall willfully or maliciously engage in child neglect shall, upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections not exceeding life imprisonment, or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one (1) year, or by a fine of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($ 5,000.00), or both such fine and imprisonment. As used in this subsection, “child neglect” means the willful or malicious neglect, as defined by paragraph 3 of subsection B of Section 7102 of this title, of a child under eighteen (18) years of age by another” (7102 C). These penalties that Oklahoma has are what Ohio should shape theirs towards.

    There are many different definitions for physical abuse. Physical abuse can often be defined as non-accidental trauma or physical injury caused by punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning or otherwise harming a child, physical abuse is the most visible form of child maltreatment (American Humane 2). According to the NCANDS, “an estimated 1,460 children died in 2005 as a result of child abuse and neglect” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007). The sad thing about physical abuse is that it’s not always easy to tell if a child has been abused or just hurt while playing. Many times the only thing we can do to indicate whether a child is being abused is to watch for changes in their behavior and simply just listen to them.

    It’s sad to say, but in Ohio penalties are stricter for someone who is endangering a police officer, than for someone who is endangering a child. If someone shoots at a police officer but doesn’t hit them it is still an automatic life sentence. However, if a child is being endangered the penalty is a matter of how badly the child was hurt. The Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 2903.15 states that “Whoever violates this section is guilty of permitting child abuse. If the violation of this section causes serious physical harm to the child, permitting child abuse is a felony of the third degree. If the violation of this section causes the death of the child, permitting child abuse is a felony of the first degree” (2903.15 C). This means that if you beat a child to the point where they are almost dead but not, you could get away with a measly nine months in prison.

    However, if you do cause the death of the child you could get up to eleven years. In more minor cases where a child is being beaten or burned some people may get away with just having to take classes to show them what they are doing wrong. Theresa Tolson, a guardian ad litem, says that, “Our goal with abuse, neglect, and dependency cases is rehabilitation, not punishment” (Tolson).

    While some of Ohio’s penalties for physical abuse are okay, such as being sentenced to eleven years in prison if you murder a child, others are taken too lightly. Tolson tells me that, “I also believe in what I’d call “three strike” rule. If someone has been charged criminally or civilly with neglect, abuse, or dependency three times; clearly they have no desire or ability to change their behavior and step up to the plate. At that point I believe we terminate their parental rights, incarcerate them for a long time, and move on” (Tolson). This statement has its truths, but if we let someone go three times, by the third time it could be too late and the child may already be dead.

    Sexual abuse can be a very sore subject for many people. There are many different Iways a child can be sexually abused, such as; being fondled, penetrating the child sexually, and making the child touch sexual organs. Touching children is not the only way to describe sexual abuse. It has also been suggested that even doing sexual acts in front of a child is considered sexual abuse. Many children think that when they are sexually abused it is their fault. Tolson talked about one of her previous cases and said, “I had a little girl once when I was a prosecutor who cut her hair off to the scalp at four years old. She believed that if she’d been a boy, the babysitter’s brother wouldn’t have raped her” (Tolson). No child should ever feel like being sexually abused is their fault. All too often sexual abuse goes unseen because many kids either start believing that was is happening to them is okay, or they are simply too afraid to tell anyone because they are afraid that their abuser will hurt them even more.

    In Ohio penalties are very strict for someone who has been raped. According to Ohio Revised Code 2907.02, if the offender gives the victim a drug they must serve no less than five years in prison (2907.02 B). Anyone in Ohio who is being convicted of rape will also be charged in the first degree. In many cases, the offender may be sentenced to life without parole. Perhaps one of the biggest down falls in Ohio’s laws against sexual abuse is the fact that a person has only twelve years to bring down their sexual offender. In essence this may seem like a long time, but in some cases these things need more than twelve years.

    All together Ohio has strong laws when it comes to sexual abuse. When people are caught in the act of sexual abuse, they get what they deserve. The worst part about the abuse though is that many children are too afraid to speak up, so their offender goes unseen. Ohio’s next step with sexual abuse needs to be making kids feel more comfortable coming out about what is being done to them. We need to help these children realize that it is not their fault and that they can take down their offender so that these things do not continue to happen to them.

    Some people may think that emotional abuse and neglect are the same but they are not. While neglect can be a way of causing a child emotional abuse, this type of abuse is more complex. Emotional abuse can often be described as a caregiver’s behavior that can have psychological, social, cognitive, or emotional effect on a child (American Humane 1). Some example of this may include; ignoring the child, isolating, rejecting, verbally assaulting, and terrorizing. From time to time, everyone will have negative attitudes, which is not considered to be emotional abuse, but it crosses that line when you are constantly acting out towards or in front of your child. In many cases with emotional abuse the parents do not mean to harm their child but do because of stress or other problems in their own life.

    Unfortunately, not many states have many laws on emotional child abuse. Since neglect can fall under the same category as emotional abuse, community service is still one of the possible punishments for committing emotional abuse. In most cases in situations including emotional abuse, the family will be observed with a guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem will then help decide what actions need to be taken regarding the emotional abuse that has been going on inside of the home or wherever it may be happening. Many times the abuser will be required to take some sort of class to help them overcome their behavior. In worst case scenarios the children are removed from the home where the abuse is coming from and placed in to foster care systems where they can be placed into a loving family.

    In the case of emotional abuse the three strike rule could be very effective. However, if the child is so emotionally abused that they are depressed and may be capable of committing suicide, they should be taken out of their home immediately and social services should step in. Making a parent go through classes is a good idea but only if they are in a home set environment. According to Tolson if parents are set in a regular class they will not pay attention they will just show up to get it over with “these parents need one-on-one treatment/therapy, as well as in home coaching and assistance. Both are available and these are much more effective” (Tolson). These classes are a great idea for parents who are committed to becoming better parents and want the extra help.

    While some penalties for child abuse are sufficient, other penalties need to be increased for the safety of children everywhere. Too many children die every year from child abuse and neglect. Studies have shown that more than five children die every day from child abuse (Child Help 2). That is an alarming number that needs to be decreased. With stronger penalties we may be able to see those numbers go down. According to Child Help statistics, “thirty percent of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse” (Child help 2). As a society we need to do our part to try and stop the spread of child abuse and neglect. We may not be able to get involved too much, but if you sense a child is being abused do not hesitate to call the authorities. In doing so you may be saving a life.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    The Necessity of Increasing Penalties for Child Abuse in Order to Ensure the Safety of Children Everywhere. (2022, Nov 25). Retrieved from

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