Child Abuse: A Parent's Responsibility

by Darlene Barriere
(Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada)

Parents can be charged with child abuse—a felony charge—even when the abuse is by the hand of another.


Such is the case of an Oklahoma couple who are charged with enabling child abuse after their 5-month-old baby suffered 15 different injuries over a space of time. The defense attorney for the couple argued that since no one has been identified or charged with actually abusing the baby, the case should be dismissed. But the prosecution countered that they don't have to prove who committed the injuries. They only have to prove that the parents were responsible for the care of the baby and that the baby's injuries were apparent.

According to court documents, the couple are accused of leaving their baby "in the care of another," even when they "knew or reasonably should have known that the child would be placed at risk of abuse."

The parents took the baby to the hospital, but not before the baby had suffered 3 skull fractures, 5 rib fractures, 6 bruises on her head, and an inch-long cut at the back of the roof of her mouth.

A child protection expert testified that the baby's injuries were consistent with abuse, stating it would have taken 3 blows to fracture the child's skull, that "rib fractures in this age of child are 99 percent associated with physical abuse," and that the "bruises are absolutely consistent with blunt force trauma."

My Comments: This case isn't just a question of law; it's a question of common sense.

The injuries to this Oklahoma couple's baby could not have been missed. Clearly, these parents were negligent in the care of their baby girl. They had a duty to love, nurture and protect their child, by ensuring that the basic needs were met. Regardless of whether or not they were the ones who inflicted the physical abuse, they are guilty of not protecting her from that abuse.

Thumbs up to the prosecution for taking legal action in this case!

Comments for Child Abuse: A Parent's Responsibility

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Sep 03, 2007
Enabling Child Abuse
by: JWC

Child abuse is inexcusable. For a parent to attempt to deny responsibility because a caregiver and not them was responsible for inflicting the damage to the baby is also inexcusable.
Every parent has the responsibility to ensure their child is placed in a proper care facility when they require someone else to care for their child. I take it that this case is still being heard and can only hope that these parents are dealt with appropiately.

Sep 04, 2007
I agree with JWC
by: Anonymous

Hope these parents get what's coming to them! How could they let their lawyer argue that because no one's been charged with child abuse that the case should be dismissed??? Really now! Everybody wants to pass blame and not take responsibility for their actions. But what about that helpless little baby girl? It was their job as parents to take care of their baby. Let them rot in jail for not protecting her!

Dec 18, 2007
great
by: Anonymous

good prosecution!

Jan 04, 2010
your a horible person if you think child abuse is right
by: Anonymous

KIDS ARE LIKE VIDEO GAMES THEY ARE FUN BUT CAN GET ANNOYING AND NOT FAIR NOT FAIR-MABEY YOUR KIDS DONT DO THE DISHES... BUT DID YOU ALWAYS CLEAN THE KITCHEN AND ANNOYING- WELL ITS OBVIOS THAT THEY CAN GET SORT OF ANNOYING BUT YOU CANT BLAME IT ON THE KID... THATS WHAT KIDS DO FUN-YOUR LIFE WOULD BE BORING IF YOU DIDNT HAVE KIDS

Feb 18, 2013
Charging parents with abuse
by: Monika

I'm a 44-year-old single mother of a 15-year-old boy, and I would like to charge my mother with child neglect, child abondonment. Here us my story. My mother had left her 3 underage children with an abusive father, I was 3, my brother was 6, and my sister was 9. She new that my father was abusive, but didn't do anything to stop it. At the age of 14 I left my father and fostermother who had mentally abusive (father's abuse was sexually and mential, and physological abuse. From the age of 14 til today, I'm trying to cope with this again. I try to find the mother instinct in her, and to no avail have been always disappointed. Can't hold on to jobs, I have been in abusive relationships all my life. I have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder form a professional doctor. The question I seek is, can I still charge my mother after all these years with abondonment, neglect and verbal abuse???

Sincerely yours,
Monika

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