California Child Abuse Laws

//California Child Abuse Laws

If you are a parent, you have most likely wondered at one point or another what exactly constitutes child abuse. Knowing what kinds of physical contact are acceptable, and which are unacceptable, can be very difficult to determine. It used to be that the parent decides: a parent who felt that their child needed a beating with a belt was not thought of differently than a parent who felt beating their child was wrong. In fact, physical punishment was widely accepted as an effective method of parenting.

These days, things are very different. Depending upon specific circumstances, the slightest of physical contact could result in a criminal charge for committing child abuse. Different states have different laws governing physical contact between a parent and a child with penalties and definitions of abuse varying wildly.

California’s laws pertaining to physical child abuse are somewhat average when compared to laws throughout the United States. Those facing criminal charges for committing child abuse are encouraged to contact our domestic violence defense law firm for a  free consultation. There are several instances in which parents are falsely accused. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.

Types of Child Abuse

What is considered child abuse can range from emotional, sexual, physical and neglect. There are a number of different ways in a which a person can abuse a child. While some experts say that emotional child abuse is as damaging if not more than physical abuse, there is no question that all types of abuse can negatively affect a child throughout their lifetime.

The following are the types of child abuse:

Emotional Abuse

– When a parent constantly shames or humiliates a child in any way it can be considered emotional child abuse.

Child Neglect

– If a parent consistently fails to fulfill their child’s basic needs, this is considered child neglect.

Sexual Abuse

– If a parent or other adult engages in physical contact with a child’s genitals or coerces a child into creating contact with their own genitals, they are committing sexual abuse upon a child.

Physical Child Abuse

– A parent who physically harms or injures a child on purpose they are considered physically abusive. The “gray area” is whether or not the parent was intending to discipline their child. If the purpose was to discipline, there are still instances in which discipline can go too far. In those cases, perpetrators can be charged and convicted for committing physical child abuse.

Specific Actions that Could Result in Child Abuse Charges

– Making purposeful physical contact with a child that leaves a mark.

– Involvement in a physical fight with your child resulting in marks and/or bruises

– Using a belt or other object to beat a child

Penalties for Physical Child Abuse in California

There are several California laws governing the relationship between a parent and a child, but the one that governs cruel physical punishment and/or physical injury upon a child is California penal code 273D. Those accused of violating PC 273D face serious consequences. In addition to time in prison, those convicted could have trouble obtaining employment or seeing their children in the future.

Physical child abuse charges can result in a misdemeanor or a felony offense. The following are possible penalties for those convicted of PC 273D:


– Six years in California state prison


–  Up to one year in your county jail

California Child Abuse Defense

Have you or your loved one been charged with committing child abuse? Contact my domestic violence defense law firm located in Orange County, California for a free professional case evaluation. Once convicted, you may have a very difficult time recovering from the legal repercussions and social stigma associated with a “child abuser.” Contact us now to see what steps we can take to help get your charges dropped and your case dismissed.

Call (888) 250-2865 today to receive a free confidential case evaluation and consultation from a skilled Southern California domestic violence defense attorney with a history of success.


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