Child abuse and cruelty remain one of the most common causes of childhood and premature death, with an estimated 36,000 girls and 34,000 boys in need of protection from abuse in Britain today. The majority of abused children are emotionally and psychologically scarred for life and yet, many cases are never reported or ever brought to the attention of the authorities and a childs life is slowly destroyed.
Children have complete legal protection against assault, ill-treatment or neglect, all of which are criminal offences. Child abuse includes the offence of ill-treating a child emotionally or of negligence in proper care. Anyone who causes unnecessary suffering to a child can be sentenced to two years imprisonment.
The difference between actual bodily harm (a.b.h.) and the more serious crime of grevious bodily harm (g.b.h.) is usually a matter of degree. The police usually charge the offender with both, thus leaving the courts to decide. The maximum sentence for the lesser a.b.h. is 5 years imprisonment but this offence is sometimes dealt with in the magistrates court when the maximum is 6 months imprisonment. The more serious offence of g.b.h. is usually dealt with in the crown court where the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.
If a person dies as a result of an attack, or in trying to prevent such attack, including suicide through fear of attack, the attacker or would be attacker could be charged with murder, manslaughter or unintentional manslaughter. Each of which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
During the writing of this book, I became aware of a child cruelty case that was actually dealt with by the courts. A young mother had been sentenced to two years imprisonment after being found guilty of burning her two year old daughter with cigarettes. The young girl suffered multiple burns to her back and buttocks. The mother was released after 18 months and almost immediately reunited with her two terrified children. Within days of the reunion, the children were found sleeping on the pavement outside a public house, in sub-zero temperatures.
Custody and Access orders were replaced in the 'Children's Act 1989' with Residence orders and Contact orders. An unmarried father does not have the same legal rights as a married one towards his children. However, the unmarried father can now take legal steps to be granted parental responsibilities to his children which he does not need the mothers consent to obtain.
The 'Children's Act 1989' introduced many changes in the legal aspects of child care which basically meant a lot of people were starting to think about the mistakes they were making with children's lives. . . And people started to listen!
"A Reason for Living"
A Story that Shocked the World!