When Does Discipline Become Abuse?
Most states do not prohibit parents from spanking their children in all circumstances. However, all of the states have statutes that define child abuse. If a parent is accused of child abuse because he or she has struck a child then a judge or jury would need to decide whether the parent’s actions constituted abuse, based on the state law as applied to the facts of the specific case.
Corporal punishment is the intentional infliction of pain that is designed to punish a person for his or her actions and teach that person not to do it again. In the United States, corporal punishment most often refers to the physical discipline of children in a school setting. About one half of the states including California and Massachusetts have outlawed corporal punishment.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
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State Criminal Defense Articles
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- New York
- North Dakota