Child Abuse News: Indiana State Supreme Court Ruling

by JWC

Recently, I posted an article about how child abuse news stories in the media have a positive effect on changing laws (see post at Child Abuse News: Essential or Extraneous). A recent Indiana State Court Ruling, which I would not have known about except for child abuse news stories published on the Internet, indicates that there are laws out there that are still archaic in nature.

The Court ruled that a mother who made her 11-year-old son drop his pants and beat him with an electrical cord was not guilty of battery. Even though the boy had multiple bruises on his thighs, arm and buttocks, the judges ruled, "The (Indiana) Code does not explicitly demand that the use of force be reasonable. Second, under the Code, so long as a parent acts for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the child's welfare (including the specific purpose of preventing or punishing misconduct), the parent is privileged in using force, unless the force creates a substantial risk of death or excessive injuries." They added that there was nothing in the record to indicate the boy's physical or mental condition, so one must assume because of this lack evidence in the record they could not find there was a "substantial risk of death or excessive injuries."

In my view, one must apply the law of common sense and recognize that the injuries suffered were indeed excessive. I sincerely hope this law is changed in order to protect the children of Indiana and that this child abuse news story turns out to be one that has a positive effect towards protecting children.

Darlene's comments to this Child Abuse Article titled "Child Abuse News: Indiana State Supreme Court Ruling" can be found at Comments below this submission. Depending on system activity, there are sometimes delays in comments going live on my site; but rest assured, they do eventually appear. So if you don't yet see them, I hope you will return later to read what I, and possibly others, have written. I thank you for your patience and understanding.

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Comments for Child Abuse News: Indiana State Supreme Court Ruling

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Jul 25, 2008
State sanctioned child abuse...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

I'm in agreement, JWC. What have we come to when a parent fights for the right—and WINS—to use an electrical cord in order to whip her son? The law makes exceptions for death and excessive injuries. The former doesn't require a statement. But the other words, this mother has the legal right in the state of Indiana to purposely injure her son, as long as it doesn't what? Crippled him? Maim him in some way? Cut the skin to the point of lifelong scars? Perhaps the cuts would have had to be to the bone?

This case only proves we've gone backwards. I have always found it particularly disturbing that we allow children, our smallest and most vulnerable in society, to be assaulted in the name of correction; yet if any adult raises a hand to another adult, regardless of the reasons, the offending adult will end up in jail, likely prosecuted and most certainly found guilty if taken through the court system; a system that would use common sense.

A law that allows a parent to use excessive force against their child as long as it doesn't result in death or "excessive injury" is state sanctioned child abuse. The effects of this prehistoric law will cost society in the long run: mental and physical health care, loss of productivity, a requirement for increased policing, an overloaded legal system, plus a host of other costs that are far more sinister. There are a multitude of child abuse story pages on this site that are a testament to some of these costs, especially in the area of health care. Studies now show that as child abuse victims age into their 40's and 50's, they require more and more medical health care for such ailments as heart disease, stroke, stomach disorders, indeed, disorders of every type.

When will we learn?

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Dec 18, 2008
How do they sleep at night
by: Anonymous

The laws you stand by is hurting our children. I know that they do not give to your campaign and that they do not vote for you, but you must have a heart in there somewhere. May God be with those who do not stand up and protect the innocence of a child.

Jan 19, 2009
In response to electrical cord whippings.
by: Anonymous

When I was growing up, it was almost the norm that many parent chose to spank their children with the "ironing cord", besides the belt. And the further backwards you go in time, the crueler the methods were. Even the wife abuse, being considered acceptable beat her with a stick no thicker than such and such. But I feel that electrical cord whippings are far too extreme for any childhood mistakes, can leave far reaching emotional scars, if not lifetime scars, as well as physical scars. If corporal punishment has been abolished over a hundred yeaars ago for unhealthy reasons, then why on God's green earth would the government allow such severe physical punishments upon defenseless children? I have the perfect solution to all of these evil adult perpetrators that whip children with the cord: Let them suffer the same pain they inflicted on the children! Let them suffer the same disgrace they put upon the kids. And after they die, God will take over from there.

Note from Darlene I understand where you're coming from; but in response to your solution, Anonymous, the fact is, in all likelihood, these parents WERE treated the same way when they were children. They already suffered the disgrace they put upon their children; they just didn't learn from that disgrace. Violence begets violence. The solution can never lie in more violence. The solution lies in education and support for children and parents.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Jul 05, 2012
Judges think they are GOD
by: Anonymous

I am part of a group specifically there because our children have come forward and said they were physically and sexually abused by a parent. When taken to court the abuser ends up with custody, usually full, because the protective parent came forward to protect them. What is wrong with Indiana? 26 children dead and a court system that punishes the child and protector? The problem is that our governor will "not get involved", politicians say it is out of their area of control so NO ONE oversees the family court system and these judges know it. We tell our children to come forward if they are touched inappropriately but then when they do they are forced to be alone with the abuser and ripped away from the parent who protects them?

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