New York Family Law Group

New York Child Abuse Laws: An Overview

Last updated on December 8, 2022

In New York, child abuse laws fall under the Family Court Act. Under Family Court Act, Section 1012.(e), an abused child is one whose, parents or guardians are legally responsible for the child’s care, inflict physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual exploitation, or assault. Child abuse could also constitute maltreatment and neglect that result in serious harm to the child.

Child abuse is a serious crime in New York, and if you’re charged with assault and battery of a child, you could face up to 25 years in prison without the right representation. If you or a friend has been accused of child abuse in New York, it is advisable to consult with an experienced New York City family law attorney for legal guidance.

Child Abuse Laws in New York

Under New York child abuse laws Code Section 411-428, child abuse constitutes any injury inflicted intentionally, causing impairment of physical or mental health, disfigurement, death, or creating a high risk of injury or sexual abuse.

Child abuse or neglect reports are filed when there is reason to suspect that a child has been abused or if someone has information regarding an instance of child abuse. Mandated reporters are required to make their suspicions of child abuse known. These suspicions might be cultivated by certain circumstances involving the child, the condition in which the child is living, or facts presented to them by the child. 

Who is Considered a Mandated Reporter for Child Abuse?

In New York, certain professions are required by law to act as mandated reporters for any suspected child abuse. Mandated reporters who do not report their suspicions to the correct parties can be held accountable in the criminal and civil legal system for willingly failing to report abuse incidents. 

Mandated reporters are required to make a report when presented with reasonable or substantial doubt to suspect a child is being abused. The professions that require their workers to act as mandated reporters include: 

  • Social services workers
  • Licensed marriage and family therapists
  • Registered physician’s assistants
  • School officials and teachers 
  • Residential care workers and volunteers
  • Mental health professionals
  • District attorneys or assistant district attorneys
  • Christian Science practitioners
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)
  • Providers of family or group family daycare
  • Law enforcement personnel

Common Perpetrators of Child Abuse

All of us would like to think that child abusers can be easily identified and avoided by our children. However, people who abuse children often look and act just like everyone else, making them seem trustworthy. Children are often convinced that neglect or abuse is acceptable because the abusers have some control over their lives.

The perpetrators of abuse could include:

  • School administrators and teachers
  • Managers or employees at daycare
  • Sports coaches and team managers
  • Members of the clergy or other religious leaders
  • Families and friends
  • Caregivers or babysitters

Employers can sometimes be held responsible for permitting abuse. These cases are most prevalent in schools and daycares that fail to conduct background checks or ignore the results. They also don’t follow up on family or employee complaints. These actions are considered negligence because a reasonable person would conduct background checks to ensure the safety of children.

Statute Of Limitations

Even though it’s controversial, New York has a statute of limitations for child abuse cases. If a child victim is not able to file a claim against their abuser in a timely manner, they may be barred from seeking justice.

A civil case involving child abuse can only be filed within five years of the person becoming the majority. This means that it must be filed before the victim turns 23. While this may change in the future, it is a reminder of how important it is to take action against abusers as soon as possible.

How a New York Family Law Attorney Can Help

A family law attorney specializes in matters related to family law and can help handle your child abuse case. New York imposes stiff penalties on those charged with child abuse, so you want to have the best legal representation possible. The laws surrounding child abuse and neglect in New York are complex and can be draining, especially if you are working with inexperienced lawyers.

Therefore, if you or someone you know has been accused of child abuse or neglect and need assistance, the dedicated team of family law attorneys at New York Family Law Group can help. We rely on our 30+ years of experience to provide you with the legal expertise, individualized services, and compassionate support you require to achieve a desirable outcome.

Ready to get started? Schedule a free discovery call at (718) 293-1542 to discuss your case details with our New York child abuse lawyers, Ethan Steward and Martin Mohr, and get the assistance you need.



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