While many norms differ from culture to culture, it’s fair to say that nearly every society opposes the use of unnecessary violence against children, typically regarded as the most vulnerable and helpless members of society.
However, as our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know from experience, the definitions of child abuse become blurred when one considers the role of physical punishments in the process of disciplining a child. What rights does a parent have in choosing how to teach their children how to behave? When does an instructive decision made by a parent become a criminal act?
A recent criminal case involving a man who slapped his 8-year-old son underscores the complexities of this issue. Although the man claimed all along that he was disciplining his child for cursing, social service workers and a family court initially decided that the physical punishments to which he subjected his son constituted child neglect.