When Does Corporal Punishment Become Child Abuse?
An NFL player has been making headlines again. This time, it’s star running back Adrian Peterson who is accused of abusing his 4-year-old. According to Peterson, he was punishing the boy using a tree branch, just as he had when he was young. Experts believe Peterson had taken the punishment too far and now the Vikings player is facing a legal battle.
Peterson’s case brings up an interesting question. Although corporal punishment is still legal, when does punishing a child become a form of abuse? As children, we’ve all experienced discipline from our parents in some way. According to recent research, 90 percent of parents of 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds have struck their children as a form of punishment. But where does the line between discipline and abuse lay in a legal sense?
According to New Jersey Department of Children and Families, child abuse is defined as physical, sexual or emotional hard to a child caused by a parent or another adult. New Jersey’s child abuse law states that a child who receives an excess of corporal punishment is considered child abuse. So, when looking at Peterson’s case, there is a difference between giving your child a quick smack on the butt and beating him with a tree branch. But it’s up to the law to decide if he went too far with the punishment.
If you know of a child who is being abused, please report it to the New Jersey Department of Children and Families at 1-877 NJ ABUSE.
If you are in need of a child abuse lawyer, we can help you. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.