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Child Abuse Laws in Arizona

Are you concerned about the wellbeing of a child regarding a situation of possible or confirmed abuse? Child abuse is a matter that should not be taken lightly. If you are a parent, guardian, or concerned third party looking to protect the rights of a child, it is important to know the child abuse laws in Arizona. Depending on the situation, you may be able to demand retribution for the acts and/or negligence of another party. 

Types of Child Abuse in Arizona

The Arizona Department of Child Safety (DSC) lists several types of child abuse and neglect. These types of abuse can be committed by a parent, guardian, or third party against a child. 

    • Physical Abuse: Non-accidental injuries like bruises, broken bones, burns, and cuts. 
    • Sexual Abuse: This includes using children in pornography or for prostitution as well as any sort of sexual interaction. 
  • Neglect: This includes a wide array of behaviors in which children do not receive the necessary care for illness or injuries. It can also mean leaving young children unsupervised or alone or without adequate clothing, food, or shelter. Unsanitary or dangerous living conditions can also be considered neglect. 
  • Emotional Abuse: Though this is harder to identify, evidence of emotional abuse includes “severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or improper aggressive behavior” directly caused by the lies or actions of a caretaker. 
  • Exploitation: When an adult uses a child for material gains. 
  • Abandonment: Intentionally failing to support a child or maintain regular contact with them for an indefinite period of time.

Answering Your Questions On Arizona Child Abuse Laws

We know you might have hundreds of different questions regarding child abuse laws in Arizona. Below, we will answer some of the most common questions we receive. 

Is it legal to hit kids in Arizona?

Purposefully hitting a child hard enough to cause physical injury is considered child abuse in Arizona and is most certainly not legal. If a child presents bruises, broken bones, burns, cuts, etc. as a result of a physical attack, their attacker should be charged with a crime. 

If you are worried about spanking your children, this is not illegal. Spanking would only become illegal if repeated hitting episodes resulted in physical injuries like bruises or cuts. 

What is an “unfit” parent in Arizona?

If you believe that someone is an unfit parent, it’s important to understand what that definition means in legal terms. In Arizona, several factors can be used to prove someone is an unfit parent. Among these factors are: 

  • Level of involvement in childcare. 
  • Exposing a child to dangerous situations. 
  • Substance abuse. 
  • The child’s own feelings of safety with their parent or guardian. 
  • Domestic violence. 
  • Child abuse or neglect. 

This list is not definitive and many other behaviors may qualify a parent as unfit in the state of Arizona. 

What is felony child cruelty? 

In Arizona, child abuse is a felony. However, depending on the specific type of abuse, the felony can range from class 2 (more severe) to a class 6 (less severe). Intentional, reckless, or criminally negligent child abuse is more likely to result in harsher sentences. 

Can parents go to jail for abuse? 

Jail time for child abuse is very common. In Arizona, child abuse is always a felony — even the lowest level of abuse will lead to jail time. Just because an adult is the parent of a child does not mean that they are exempt from any charges of abuse. 

Get A Free Case Review

If you are concerned about the well-being of a child, you need to speak up. It’s important to be able to recognize the signs of child abuse and know the laws. Our team is prepared to help you with your child abuse claim. Give our office a call at (602) 313-1930 and we will give you a free case review.

– Massey Law Firm, your Scottsdale Child Abuse Attorneys

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