Georgia Child Abuse Victim Lawyer

Upset lonely african kid girl holding teddy bear looking away

Child abuse is one the most traumatic and tragic experiences a child and their can experience. Georgia law provides protection for children who have suffered abuse. If you believe your child may have suffered harm or you know your child has been harmed, you have the right to sue the person or entity responsible for causing that harm and to recover for your child’s injuries and future needs.

All child abuse is tragic and wrong. We all hear news reports of terrible tragedies with our most vulnerable being subjected to some of the worst situations imaginable. Sometimes this can happen in the very places we would least expect a child to be injured, such as at school or church.

Very few lawyers have the compassion and legal knowledge to handle the tragedy of child abuse in a way that avoids further trauma for the family involved. Charles Scholle is a Georgia injury lawyer who has represented families and victims of serious injury with care and compassion. His sensitive approach to his clients is present in all serious injury cases as he aggressively pursues the perpetrators of harm.

If a child in your family has suffered abuse at the hands of another, call us at (866) 592-1296 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Your case evaluation is completely confidential.

Child Abuse in Georgia and the United States

In 2019, Child Protective Services agencies across the United States received more than 4 million reports of alleged mistreatment of children. Of these, about 2.4 million reports were investigated, and about 17 percent of cases discovered abuse or neglect – about 1,343,000 children. Nearly 2,000 children died due to abuse or neglect.

In 2017, nearly 208,000 children were reported as victims of child abuse in Georgia. Of these reports, 10,487 children were found to be abused, and almost 100 children died as a result of abuse or neglect. It is likely that the actual numbers are higher than those reported, as child abuse is often in fact not reported or detected by authorities.

 

What Constitutes Child Abuse?

Teenage boy with a black eye listening to earbudsAccording to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), child abuse and neglect is defined as “any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caregiver that results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation, or an act or failure to act that presents an imminent risk of serious harm.” 

There are many types of abuse and neglect that fall into this definition. These include:

  • Sexual abuse and/or exploitation
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Neglect
  • Parental substance abuse (prenatal drug use, manufacturing drugs in the presence of a child, etc.)
  • Abandonment

All 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and US territories, have their own statutes defining child abuse. In Georgia, child abuse is defined in the Mandated Reporter Law (O.C.G.A. §19-7-5) as:

  • Physical injury or death inflicted upon a child by a parent or caretaker thereof by other than accidental means; provided, however, physical forms of discipline may be used as long as there is no physical injury to the child;
  • Neglect or exploitation of a child by a parent or caretaker thereof;
  • Sexual abuse of a child; or
  • Sexual exploitation of a child.

Georgia law provides more detail regarding actions that fall into the above categories for further reading. It is important to note that corporal punishment is not considered abuse, so long as it is not excessive nor the first choice of discipline.

 

Signs of Child Abuse

Young boy hiding under pillows on the couch

There are a variety of behaviors and actions that may signal a child is being abused.

It is important to note that some children exhibit few or none of these signs, while others may exhibit these behaviors even if they are not being abused. However, if you notice these red flags, especially if they onset suddenly, they may be warning signs for abuse:

  • Withdrawal from previously enjoyed activities or friends
  • Frequent school absences or changes in performance at school
  • Trying to run away
  • Depression, anxiety, new fears, etc.
  • Sudden changes in behavior, such as aggression or hyperactivity
  • Unexplained or poorly-explained injuries
  • Sexual knowledge or behavior that is beyond the child’s age, including inappropriate contact with other children
  • Blood in the child’s underwear
  • Delayed or accelerated emotional development
  • Seeking affection desperately
  • Reversal in developmental skills
  • Parental demands of academic, physical, and/or activity perfection
  • Contact with other children is severely limited

schoolboy crying in the hallway of the school

In addition, signs of neglect may include:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Being undersized or overweight for their age
  • Taking or hiding food without permission
  • Lack of medical treatment
  • Lack of clean clothing or school supplies
  • Lack of concern from the child’s parents or caregivers
  • The child being berated by their guardian

Who Is Required to Report Child Abuse?

Woman comforting crying young girl

Child abuse is often difficult to detect. As such, a variety of professionals who regularly work with children are required to undergo training to spot abuse.

If they suspect abuse, they are required to file a report with their local Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS) or law enforcement within 24 hours.

These “Mandated Reporters include:

 

  • Physicians, physician assistants, interns, and residents
  • Hospital or medical personnel
  • Dentists
  • Licensed psychologists and persons participating in internships to obtain licensing
  • Podiatrists
  • Registered professional nurses or licensed practical nurses, and nurse’s aides
  • Professional counselors, social workers, or marriage and family therapists
  • School teachers and administrators
  • School counselors, visiting teachers, school social workers, and school psychologists
  • Child welfare agency personnel
  • Child-counseling personnel
  • Child service organization personnel
  • Law enforcement personnel
  • Reproductive health care facility or pregnancy resource center personnel and volunteers

If a mandatory reporter is made aware or suspects child abuse, but fails to make a timely report, they may be charged with a misdemeanor. A Georgia child abuse victim attorney can provide more information regarding action you can take after abuse has been discovered.

 

Speak with a Child Abuse Victim Lawyer in Georgia Today

annette malena, charles scholle, todd shugart group photo

From left: Attorneys Annette Malena, Charles Scholle,
and Todd I. Shugart

Although it is difficult to imagine and painful to deal with, if your child has been abused, it is important to get the help you will need to support their recovery medically and psychologically.

You need an attorney with the skill and experience to guide you through the litigation process while protecting your child.

Whether your child was harmed in a childcare situation, a school, a church, or elsewhere, Scholle Law Firm has the experience and compassion to help.

For nearly two decades, Charles Scholle has fought for justice for Georgians who have been seriously injured by another party’s carelessness, neglect, or intentional actions. He has years of experience with the legal, medical and personal issues involved in severe injury cases. 

Because he works with injured and traumatized people, he understands that clients are often experiencing a time of intense physical and/or emotional strain. He and his legal team are dedicated to helping these clients fully understand all legal avenues, keeping them informed in their cases and getting them the best possible recovery.

Cases involving child abuse are delicate, and our firm is committed to minimizing the negative effects of bringing a lawsuit. If a child in your family has suffered abuse at the hands of another, call us at (866) 592-1296 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation.