Child abuse refers to the psychologically, sexually and physically maltreatment of a child. This is an act that can be operationalized by either parents or other guardian of the child or children. Neglecting the needs of the children willingly is an act of child abuse. When the parents or guardians of children fail to provide these essential needs to the children, it results in actual or potential harm to the child or children being neglected. Child abuse can be witnessed in several places such as homes, organizations, schools or the communities the child or children interact with.
Evidences of child abuse
There are various evidences to show and prove that a child is being or has been abused or neglected. The following are evidences of child abuse that are portrayed in the movie called Baby Gone Baby directed by Ben Affleck; its evident that Helene McCready neglected Amanda McCready due to the following;
Despite the disappearance of the 4-year-old Amanda, Helene seems not to be bothered by that fact. She goes along with her daily activities and not taking any substantial action to know the whereabouts of her abducted daughter. This depicts the highest degree of irresponsibility and uncaring person. Any mother, who has her childs interest at heart, would not be as calm as Helene upon the disappearance of her child. Its clearly evident that Helene was not a good mother to Helene.
She is strange, obnoxiously unhelpful to the investigators who are so determined to find the kidnappers. She does know quite a lot but very reluctant in sharing of the information that may lead to the rescue of Amanda McCready. A four-year-old Amanda McCready is still young and needs a special attention from the parent. Helene is a drunkard who is ever high on drugs. Alcohol impairs judgment, thus, taking care of the needs of Amanda become a difficulty. She cannot take care of the basic needs of the young Amanda after the booze. Such as cooking for the child, washing her and helping her with her academic homework. Booze, like any other drugs, consumes much of the time and money of Helene. She does not prioritize the need for the child.
She is a prostitute. Apart from being a foul-mouth boozer, she is a skanky prostitute. This vice makes her forget Amanda. This act of neglecting Amand is a child abuse. It's evident that it was only the aunt and uncle to the young Amanda that was more concerned about the child before her disappearance and commences the search, unlike Helene who never seems to be worried at all.
The dispositions or remedies of the Helenes case of child abuse
The judge in the child protection case has found enough and sufficient evidence to believe that Amanda was neglected. The following are some of the remedies or dispositions regarding the case of Amanda McCready:
Allegations against Helene are filed. Prosecutors have the authority known as prosecutorial discretion to decide on filing the charges. The strength or weakness of the evidence is the greatest determinant to file charges. Helene's case has more and sufficient evidence. Amanda's story must also maintain consistency for the prosecutor to file charges.
Thereafter, Helene McCready is to be arrested. The prosecutor and the detective are to review the papers in the case to prepare a document known as a complainant and then filed with a court. Helene appears in court as soon as possible after the arrest. Anyone arrested has the right to be taken before the judge without any deliberate delay. She may have a lawyer or choose to respond directly to the judge. The prosecutor must be present at that hearing.
The initial appearance is always brief as the judge informs her, Helene McCready, of the charges against her and preliminary hearing, is mention. A bond may be awarded or she is remanded. The judge opted for the latter.If the judge decides there is sufficient evidence for trial; Amanda is probably to testify again at the trial, in case there is one. At this point, there is no jury.
Then its followed by pretrial Diversion.Helene McCready being a drug addict is eligible for a program that diverts her away from the prosecution and into some form of rehabilitation. This rehabilitation will be of great benefit to both court and Helene who seems to be completely consumed by the world of drugs. This gives Helene an opportunity to redeem herself and enhance chances of the charges to be dropped. If she cannot complete the rehabilitation session, the prosecutor has no otherwise but to proceed with the prosecution on the original charges of child abuse and neglect (Myers, 1998).
Following the nature of Helenes charges, the judge should convince the prosecutor to allow her to participate in the pretrial diversion program such as rehabilitation. The prosecutor always has a considerable discretion on to allow or deny such opportunities of pretrial diversion.Should Helene not meet the prosecutors expectation at the pretrial diversion, and its evident that the case is bound to proceed to trial; opposing attorneys may file a pretrial motion. This is meant to request the judge to resolve some legal issues prior the trial. For instance, the judge might be requested to order a psychiatric evaluation of Helene, just to remove any shadow of doubt concerning her actions.
There should be a preparation for the actual trial of the accused Helene by the attorneys. Witnesses such as Amanda's aunt and uncle should be interviewed; there should be a communication with the potential expert witness, and plan trial strategy. Additionally, the defense counsel engages in pretrial discovery as this enable them to learn about the evidence possessed by the other side of the case. The accused's attorney should send a bill of particulars to the prosecutors requesting details about the charges against the defendant Helene McCready. This enables the attorney for Helene to inspect records created by the professionals. The professionals such as doctors are consulted by the defense counsel or the investigators working for the defense. Before discussing a case with anybody, professionals should be clear about the affiliation of the individual seeking information to ensure that the case is not tampered with at all cost.
The defendant counsel should bargain with the prosecutor to make a deal. This leads to Helene pleading guilty to the original charges as the prosecutor agrees to request the judge to be lenient when he or she is passing the judgment. In most cases, pleading guilty reduces charges thus a lighter sentence. Plea bargaining is a rampant way of ending cases without reaching the level of trial in court.
When the defendant, Helene McCready, pleads guilty, after the plea negotiation, the judge should decide what punishment she deserves. Depending on the gravity of her crime of child abuse and neglect, and perhaps her prior criminal record, as well as prosecutors request for leniency, Helene should be placed on probation and be ordered to occasionally visit rehabilitation center.
I agree with Doyle that Amanda to be removed from her mother:
Following the evidence that Helene neglected the young Amanda, she should not be allowed to stay with the child, at least for some time. Amanda McCready is to be in the custody of the caring and more concern aunt and uncle (Myers, 1999). The mother, who until stop drinking alcohol while attending the rehabilitation, to occasionally visit the child and provide the necessary items for her upkeep.
It's indeed recommendable that there should be rescue and removal of abused or neglected children away from their homes and be taken in custody of safe people who are ready and willing to take good care of them. Not for eternity, but until the parents or guardian have proven otherwise. If they still show no change in their way of treating the children, they are officially denied the opportunities to have the child. This would help the child to have a better environment to grow into a healthier and responsible adult. For instance, if Amanda is to grow into a responsible woman, she should be taken far away from her mother who is foul-mouth boozer. She would, most likely, imitate her mothers bad behavior, that is, if she survives the maltreatment of her drunken mother.
The children should be removed from such homes as the government provides such family with services to eliminate the neglect or abuse (Cusick, 1990). The government can provide services such as counseling, rehabilitation, educating and sponsoring the people. For example, in a situation where there are couples fights leading to psychological torture of a child, the child can be taken away and the parents counseled to change their ways before the child is returned to them.
There are several services to be provided to Amanda in such scenarios. A medical check-up is and should be the first thing to be done to Amanda. This is to determine the health of the Amanda in case she was a victim of sexual harassment or any physical molestation. A therapy is necessary to stabilize the mind of the child. The occurrence and experience were scary and a therapy is crucial for Amanda. She should not have contact with her mother until she had completed a therapy section to help her have courage after the awful experience.
Any crime, however trivial it may be, should never go unpunished. A society without laws and quest for justice can never prosper. Everyone, young or old, man or woman, deserves to be protected from the devious people, government or communities. Child abuse is largely witnessed in the regions that do not observe and respect life.
Cusick, T. (1990). Televised justice: toward a new definition of confrontation under Maryland v. Craig. Cath. UL Rev., 40, 967.
Myers, J. E. (1998). Legal issues in child abuse and neglect practice (Vol. 1) (Pg 52-66). Sage Publications.
Myers, J. E., Redlich, A. D., Goodman, G. S., Prizmich, L. P., & Imwinkelried, E. (1999). Jurors' perceptions of hearsay in child sexual abuse cases. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 5(2), 388 (chapter 4).
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