Child Abuse and Neglect - Explained by Domestic Violence Lawyer Ross Goodman

 The crime of child abuse in Las Vegas is defined as someone, usually a close relative or a guardian, knowingly causing physical or emotional harm to the child. Under Nevada child abuse law, neglecting to give children proper care or endangering them is part of child abuse.

This is especially problematic since in today’s hypersensitive world, you can be falsely accused by people who are quick to jump to conclusions, or a partner seeking revenge. In some instances, the child is the one accusing the defendant for child abuse.


What is child abuse and neglect?

Child abuse and neglect mainly refers to the physical or emotional harm a child has suffered through a guardian or caretaker’s action or inaction. Child abuse can take many forms.


Physical Abuse

This is the physical abuse of a child through acts like hitting, burning them with cigarettes, shaking a baby, or throwing objects at them. Capital punishment (like spanking) is legal in the United States, unless the punishment is unnecessarily excessive.

In the event that the child dies from the abuse, the defendant will be charged with homicide, if child abuse was found to be the primary cause of death.

This is the most common false accusation made by other people or strangers since some people are quick to assume when a child is injured from an accident or as a result of disease.


Emotional and Psychological Abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse consists of actions that are harmful to the child’s mental and emotional health, which may have lasting effects on the child’s development in the future.

Emotional abuse can be classified into:

  • Verbal abuse

Some examples of verbal abuse include shouting, name-calling, bullying, insulting or blaming a child even if it’s not their fault. Threats of physical punishment also fall here.

  • Extreme Punishment

These are for punishments that damage a child’s psychological well being rather than inflicting physical pain on them. Examples are locking them in a dark closet, or tying them up somewhere.

  • Corruption

Encouraging a child to take up alcohol, smoking, drugs, or exposing them to violence or sex in the media especially when they are younger can be classified as child abuse or negligence.


Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is the criminal act of exploiting a child for sexual stimulation and other sexual acts that involve a child. Most offenses that fall under sexual abuse are classified as felonies, and may result in the defendant requiring a lifetime registration on the sex offender list no matter how minor the act is.



The crime of neglect is the failure to properly take care of a child if the child doesn’t have the ability to care for themselves. Neglecting to give them proper nutrition and care that is essential to a child’s growth and health is neglect. Endangering children to dangerous situations like throwing and catching a baby, having dangerous substances or firearms within their reach or leaving them alone in a tent in the woods is neglect. Denying proper medical care to a child when they need it is also part of neglect.


What influences the penalties of child abuse and neglect?

The severity of the penalties given by the law will depend on the following factors:

  • If the abuse was willful or permissive;
  • How much the child was harmed by the abuse;
  • The type of abuse suffered by the child;
  • The child’s age at the time of the abuse;
  • Frequency and duration of the abuse;
  • Severity of the abuse the child has suffered;
  • Relationship of the child to the abuser/defendant.


Child Protective Services

Child Protective Services might take action and take the child away if they feel the child is in danger or is suffering from child abuse or neglect. There have been some cases where they have used excessive force or take actions that are considered unconstitutional, so it’s advised to get a lawyer to represent you when this happens.


Defenses used in child abuse and neglect

When someone is accused of child abuse, the prosecution first has to prove that the defense acted willfully or gave permission for the alleged abuse to occur. The following are the defenses commonly used in child abuse and neglect charges.

  • The child had an accident or injury unrelated to the accusation.
  • Defendant acted out of self-defense. Since a person is considered a child until they reach the age of 18, the person has the right to defend themselves if the child turned violent or angry.
  • Child lied or made false accusations. This is especially troublesome because ex-partners might persuade the child to side with them.
  • Lack of proof. A defendant simply cannot be found guilty if the prosecution cannot find sufficient evidence to prove their accusation.
  • Lack of possibility of physical or mental harm. The defendant cannot be punished if circumstances surrounding the accusation do not present a logical path of events.


Get a child abuse and neglect lawyer

Immediately call Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer Ross Goodman to defend you if you’ve been charged for child abuse and neglect. Contact us, and we will do our best to get your charges dismissed or reduced.