Bucks County Child Abuse Attorney

In 2017, Child Protective Services in Pennsylvania received approximately 47,485 reports of suspected child abuse or neglect through the ChildLine reporting system. Merely 10.2% of the reports were substantiated, meaning the allegations were found to have merit. In Bucks County in 2017, there were 311 new petitions for protection related to juvenile abuse or neglect. The Bucks County Children & Youth Social Services Agency provides protective services for children and provides follow up on potential abuse or neglect.

The Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA)

In Bucks County, they implemented the NOVA program, which over a three-year period will have educated 5% of the county's population regarding the “epidemic” of child abuse. Penny Ettinger, the executive director, stated that 10% of children are subjected to sexual abuse prior to the age of 18.

Defining Child Abuse

The formal definition of child abuse in Pennsylvania has evolved and been amended on occasions since 2014 by those responsible for Child Protective Services Law (CPSL). Child abuse may involve any of the following:

  • An action or failure to act by someone that results in physical bodily injury to a child that is not accidental
  • Acts or a failure to act by someone that results or contributes to a mental injury, sexual abuse, or exploitation of a child that is not accidental
  • Acts or a failure to act by someone that creates an “imminent risk” of the aforementioned
  • Neglect of a child that involves a “prolonged or repeated” failure to supervise, or provide vital needs such as medical treatment that creates danger or impairment

Child abuse does not result from “solely environmental factors” that are unable to be controlled. In some cases, an exception applies when children are intentionally not provided medical treatment because of legitimate religious beliefs of the family.

Those Required to Report

Certain individuals are required to report suspicions of child abuse based on their employment or profession. Some of these include medical personnel such as physicians, medical examiners, psychologists, nurses, and those employed in a clinical capacity at a hospital. Others include those routinely exposed to children such as teachers, social service workers, daycare workers, and more.

Related Criminal Charges

  • Endangering welfare of children (§ 4304): May occur when someone responsible for supervising children violates their duty to “care, protect, or support.” This may also occur when someone obstructs an attempt to report suspected abuse. This charge may be a misdemeanor of the first degree or a felony of the second or third degree based on the circumstances.
  • Simple assault (§2701): When an adult causes or intends to cause bodily injury to a child under the age of 12 they are charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree.
  • Aggravated assault (§2702): This occurs when an adult causes or intends to cause bodily injury to a child under the age of 13 and demonstrates “extreme indifference to the value of human life.” The charge is either a felony of the first or second degree based on the age of the child.
  • False reports of child abuse (§4906.1): Knowingly making a false report constitutes a misdemeanor of the second degree.
  • Sexual abuse of children (§6312): Applies when someone permits a child to engage in unlawful sexual acts that involve taking photographs or video. This also may involve someone who knowingly sells, distributes, displays, or otherwise disseminates such material. Based on the circumstances of the offense, it may be a felony charge of the first, second, or third degree.

Importance of Retaining Legal Counsel

Public sentiment is that crimes committed against children are particularly inexcusable. Members of law enforcement and the judicial system tend to aggressively prosecute these cases and impose harsh penalties. Having an attorney who has years of experience defending such allegations is critical to ensure your rights are protected.

Attorney Defends Charges of Child Abuse in Bucks County

Joseph D. Lento understands how sometimes overzealous prosecutors may make a rush to judgment in cases associated with child abuse. He approaches these matters by focusing on facts to create a comprehensive defense strategy in efforts to achieve a positive outcome. For a confidential and complimentary case evaluation contact the office at (888) 535-3686.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, Outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance is educational advice, and does not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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