Child Abuse Penalties

An article from FINDLAW explains the difference in legal ramifications for the offender. Most child abuse victims think the penalties are too lenient. I tend to agree. The Law isn’t taking into consideration the emotional trauma that is experienced by the victim.

“A person charged with child abuse faces a wide range of penalties and sentencing possibilities, depending on several factors. These include the state where the abuse took place, the age of the child, whether the offense involved sexual abuse, whether the child was physically or mentally injured, and the criminal history of the offender.

Sentencing for child abuse and neglect cases is often difficult for everyone involved – especially since child abuse cases are often highly publicized and the potential for a social stigma on the family is great.

In most states, child abuse may be charged as either a felony or a less serious offense depending on the circumstances. The most severe cases of child abuse may carry felony lifetime sentences, while the least serious cases are considered gross misdemeanors with potentially no jail time.

Punishments will typically be more severe if the offender has a prior record of criminal child abuse activity and greatly reduced if there is no prior record.

For sentencing purposes, a person charged with child abuse may enter a guilty, not guilty, or no contest plea. In a large number of cases, sentencing will typically include probation or a prison term of up to five years. Sentencing in other, more serious cases, may include a longer prison term.

Other possible penalties and/or consequences may include:

  • Lifetime requirement to register as a child sexual offender
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Ruined reputation
  • Criminal record
  • Supervised access to the child
  • Physical or actual loss and enjoyment of a child
  • Continual involvement with a child protective services agency.

People who fail to report child abuse or neglect also face penalties and consequences in some states with mandatory reporting laws. In those states, if a person has reason to suspect that someone is abusing a child, they must report is through a hotline or law enforcement agency. Failure to report such cases in a timely manner is considered a misdemeanor in most states and may result in fines, jail time, or both. It is usually best to work with a criminal defense lawyer to reduce or lessen the severity of the penalties and sentencing in all cases involving child abuse.”

Taken from FINDLAW, #1 Free Legal Website

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To Tell or Not to Tell

One of the most stressful things about sexual abuse, besides the abuse itself, is the taboo against telling someone. Abusers tell victims (children and teenagers), that they must not tell anyone, and that they will be hurt badly or killed if they tell. The abuser also may tell the victim that a loved caregiver will hate them because they are so bad.

Often the victims of this crime grow up with a terrible secret knocking constantly at their consciousness. It’s like throwing a ball against the wall and catching it. You wish you had someone to catch it, but you alone keep catching the secret and throwing it back into your mind, because you believe you will suffer grave consequences if you tell.

According to psychologists, eventually the secret abuse settles somewhere in the child’s sub-conscious and cannot be retrieved. Sometimes the secret remains hidden years after the abuse is over. My secret, the sexual abuse by a maid, was not revealed until I was middle-aged. I went to a mental hospital and my therapist helped me remember my abuse. With that came the realization that I had wanted to tell my mother very badly at the time, but did not, because my abuser told me she would kill me with the butcher knife if I ever told anyone.

Therefore, these secrets, the secrets of sexual abuse, eventually hid in my subconscious. Along with that, I developed alternate personalities that didn’t even know about the abuse. It was only when I had the courage to tell my therapist that the stress of hiding the secret was released.

If you are suffering from abuse, it is very important to tell someone. Telling is a key to healing.

My story has been told, but there are millions of stories out there that have never been told. Every year the Children’s Advocacy Centers in the United States help over 100,000 children who have been abused. These children may be battered, beaten, starved, locked up, berated, or forced into having sex with an adult or sibling. This is not acceptable in our American society, where we value each life. We must pass stronger laws to stop it.

We must address the needs of girls who are being abused by their fathers or step fathers. Often the first thing they do after being assaulted is tell their mothers. Unfortunately this disclosure is often met with retaliation and disbelief. How many young girls have been slapped in the face, yelled at and told they have dirty minds. They are accused of lying. If Mom won’t listen, I strongly advise these girls to tell a teacher or responsible caregiver about this incest. To tell can lead to release from this situation.

A little known fact is that mothers are committing a felony in most states if they don’t report the abuse and do something to stop it.

If YOU are being abused or you are suspicious that a child is being abused, please call the Child Advocacy Center or Children’s Services in your area. It is their job to investigate and RESCUE ABUSE VICTIMS. Their phone numbers are on the internet. Or you can call 1-800-4-A-CHILD, the national number for reporting abuse. My prayers are with you if you decide to tell.

Protecting A Child from Sexual Abuse

Was this child abused?At this time child sexual abuse is rampant in our society, but we are learning how we can protect our children from abuse. When a baby is first born, we mothers are usually ecstatic to see our precious newborn and to hold and protect it. We feed the baby conscientiously and care for their every need. We almost become obsessive in our efforts to protect the child from harm.

Unfortunately, when it comes to sex, many parents remain mute, and figure they will discuss it when the child enters puberty. This Victorian idea is a mistake, and keeps the child vulnerable to abuse. We need to start explaining sexuality as soon as the child can understand, and over time hopefully we can defeat much child abuse and incest.

A group called RAINN has published a blog about teaching your young child about sex and sexual abuse and I believe if we begin to follow their suggestions we can eventually turn the tide on abuse.

Here is a list of the things RAINN suggests we do to protect our children, with a few additions:

1. TALK to your children openly and directly about sexuality. This teaches them it is okay to talk about it.

2. Teach children the CORRECT NAMES for their body parts, so they have the language to ask questions and express concerns about their body parts.

3. Teach children that some parts of their body are PRIVATE. Let children know that other people should not be touching or looking at their private parts unless they need to provide care, such as by a doctor. Let children know that a trusted caregiver should be there too.

4. Tell children that if someone tries to touch those private areas or wants to look at them, or if someone tries to show the child their own private parts, they should TELL A TRUSTED ADULT as soon as possible.

5. All children should be told that it’s OKAY TO SAY “NO” to touches that make them uncomfortable.

6. If someone is touching them in uncomfortable ways, THEY SHOULD TELL YOU OR A TRUSTED ADULT as soon as possible.

7. Talking openly about sexuality and sexual abuse also teaches children that THESE THINGS DON’T NEED TO BE “SECRET.”

8. Tell the child that THEY WILL NOT GET INTO TROUBLE if they tell you this kind of secret.

9. DO NOT PUT ALL THIS INFORMATION INTO ONE BIG TALK ABOUT SEX.

10. When you EMPOWER YOUR CHILD TO SAY ‘NO’ TO UNWANTED TOUCH and TEACH THEM THAT THEY CAN COME TO YOU WITH QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS, YOU TAKE CRITICAL STEPS TO PREVENT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE.

For more information go to:

RAPE, ABUSE & INCEST NATIONAL NETWORK, http://www.rainn.org

 

Child Abuse – Symptoms

Here is a list of some of the Symptoms of Child Abuse:

1. Dramatic change in behavior. If a child who is normally outgoing becomes withdrawn, or a quiet child becomes loud and aggressive, that child may be experiencing child abuse. A normally bright child may become unresponsive, or a calm child becomes frightened or jittery. It is the change that may signal that the child is being abused.

2. Observable injuries. These are easiest signs to spot: burns, bruises, broken bones, bite marks, swelling and discolorations of the skin. If you notice these on a child, ASK them about it. It is polite in our society to ask. Does the answer seem plausible? If not, further investigation may be needed.

3. Fear of their abuser. All abused children have one universal symptom. They will be AFRAID of their abuser. They may become fearful of a parent, relative, neighbor, teacher or caregiver. My abuser used a carving knife to scare me and keep me from telling my parents.

4. Defensive stance. An abused child may avoid physical contact with others. They may hold their arms or hands in front of their body, as though someone might suddenly hurt them. They may also shy away from being touched by anyone. They may flinch at sudden movements, appearing watchful and alert, as if waiting for something bad to happen

5. Return to earlier behaviors.  These include thumb sucking, demanding a pacifier, soiling themselves, wetting the bed, fear of the dark or strangers, loss of acquired language, stuttering or memory problems. Have a serious talk with your child if you notice these symptoms.

6. Lack of personal hygiene shows neglect. A child may look like their parents forgot to give them a bath or change their clothes. This may or may not be linked to abuse, but it is neglect. The other possibility is that the child is purposely trying to look unattractive to ward off an abuser.

7. Poor School Attendence. Children may come to school early or stay late, in order to avoid an abusive parent. They may seem preoccupied and their grades suddenly plummet.

8. Risk-taking behaviors. If a child no longer feels safe and his self esteem has been taken away, he or she may have no reason to be careful. The child may run across the street without looking or jump off the top of the jungle gym. This can be a silent cry for help.

SIGNS OF SEXUAL ABUSE MAY INCLUDE:  

1. Difficulty walking or sitting.

2. Torn clothing and/or bloody underwear. A child with this symptom should be examined by a doctor to verify injuries

3. Pain and itching in the genital area.

4. Inappropriate sexual behavior. An abused child may attempt to victimize a peer or a younger family member.

5. Explicit language. A young child who suddenly spouts sexual language may have heard it during abuse by an older person.

Signs courtesy of Dreamcatcherforabusedchildren.com, The Joyful Heart Foundation, Children’s Advocacy Centers, and childhelp.org.

NAMI | Working Together for Common Ministry

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is working to equip pastors to help those with mental health problems. See the entire article below:

NAMI | Working Together for Common Ministry.

Radio Interview

My radio interview is now available online. I have installed a link to it on my home page, and I’ll jot it down now for those who want to go to it immediately:

http://namiathensohio.org/radio-program/

When you get to the page, sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), you will see Conversations from Studio B. Scroll down to the box that says Nancy DeLaval Miller. Click there to hear the interview.

I’ve received many compliments from those who have heard it, and I’m planning to do more speaking on the subject. I am proud to be able to shed light on dissociative identity disorder with multiple personalities. It has been a mystery for too long.

I also was able to talk about my Savior, Jesus Christ, who delivered me from many of my symptoms and led me to the psychologists who discovered my personalities.

Thank you for reading itsmindbloggleing and I really appreciate your comments.

 

My Radio Interview

I am so excited to tell everyone that I will be on the radio on Sunday, September 21st at 12:00 noon. The program is entitled Conversations from Studio B.  I was interviewed in the studio by Tom Walker of the National Alliance on Mental Health, (NAMI). The interview will be broadcast on Ohio Public Radio, WOUB in Athens and affiliate stations.

NAMI is one of the only national organizations that concentrates on helping the mentally sick. They have classes for people diagnosed with mental problems, for people who have children who are mentally ill, and for spouses of the mentally ill. The classes are meant to teach and guide caregivers and family members to emotional healing and wellness.

Tom has years of experience as an interviewer and kept the program running along smoothly, asking me pertinent questions about having Multiple Personalities. I answered honestly, if not sanely, revealing some of the pitfalls of MPD. If you miss the program, the interview was taped and will soon be available on the internet. Simply  type in Conversations from Studio B and your computer will bring up links to hear most of the shows that have been recorded. My name, Nancy DeLaval Miller, will be listed next to the program.

I am one step closer to finding an agent for MULTIPLE: a Christian’s Battle with Insanity. Thank you for following itsmindbloggleing.

NAMI | How Faith Communities Can Break the Stigma of Mental Illness

NAMI | How Faith Communities Can Break the Stigma of Mental Illness.

Godly Wisdom

My daughter, Janine, has been known to speak wisdom since she was a teenager. Thankfully, those wild and crazy years have passed, and she has become an adult. She works as a nanny and one of her clients is a ten year old boy. He is handicapped and she helps him with his school work and other things that are difficult and keep him from attending public school. She seems to have a good relationship with James.

One day, while they were studying, James came up with a question that had nothing to do with their studies, but which is a question common to man.

“Why would anyone want to go to Hell?” Unless one went to seminary, this is a difficult question.

Janine thought about it a minute and this was her answer:

“People who don’t want to hang out with God when they’re alive, won’t hang out with God when they’re dead.”

I was amazed when she told me her answer. Seems wise, doesn’t it?

Today is Multiple Personality Day

March 5th is National Multiple Personality Day. Here’s a suggestion for having a good day:

Tell someone you trust about your diagnosis. The first time I told a dear friend, I was really worried she would freak out and never speak to me again, but I was wrong. She listened intently, wanting to know all about it. Of course I also had to tell her about the child abuse that caused me to invent my alters, but I didn’t dwell on the dirty details.

Once I had told her, it cleared the way for me to enjoy a wonderful close relationship with her. Since then I’ve told another friend and another and now I’ve written a book about my abuse and my alters.

I encourage all of my internet multiple friends not to be afraid to tell someone. The worst thing they can do is say:

“You’re crazy,” which you already know.

The best thing they can say is:

“I’m sorry to hear it. How did you find out?” Believe me they will be very curious to learn about it, and most close friends will be supportive.

What happened to you when you told the first person about being a multiple?

Are Multiples Confused, Conflicted or Both?

I have Dissociative Identity Disorder and I have multiple personalities. I was violently sexually abused at the age of four, which is the main cause of my disorder. I became confused about who I was, and I have a theory about how child abuse causes a person to become a multiple.

The original definition of the word confuse means to make embarrassed, or abash. It also means to make ashamed, which is how it became connected to child abuse and then to Multiple Personality Disorder, one of the major effects of child abuse, especially sexual abuse.

During the abuse, I couldn’t stand to be present, so I pretended I was someone else. I allowed confusion to help me pretend I was also somewhere else, doing something besides being abused. All this confusion helped me avoid the feelings of shame and anguish and forget that it happened. I developed five childhood personalities or alters.

I was creative enough to form alternate personalities, but not mindful enough to push them aside when I was not being abused. I developed a proclivity for inventing alters, which carried into my teens and adulthood. During high school, my friends would wave their hands in front of my face, trying to get my attention when I was dissociating, and wanting me to tune into reality as they saw it. I became conflicted. My alters wanted to come out, but people didn’t recognize them.

If all this is true, I am now conflicted and confused. My personalities don’t always agree about things and they argue with one another and get angry at each other. In a way I am fighting a battle inside me. I have Dissociative Identity Disorder or Multiple Personality Disorder.

Most of you who are multiples are probably aware of these theories and I encourage you to speak out on March 5th, which is MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DAY. Recognize it. Acknowledge it and celebrate it. It’s good to have so many survivors of child abuse.

Another terrible story of child abuse

I read a terribly sad story this morning about child abuse in Florida. Although the story is seven years old, I had never heard it before today, so I’m putting the link out there for any interested readers.

http://www.tampabay.com/features/humaninterest/the-girl-in-the-window/750838

My question is was this child born with these malfunctions or were they the result of the neglect of the birth mother? What do you think?

Global Warming causes Local Freezing?

Former Vice President, Alvin More, has announced that the latest weather trend, Local Freezing, does not preclude Global Warming. Now shown on all TV weather maps, one can readily see that the United States is a target of Local Freezing, or National Freezing, however the weather forecasters describe the current temperatures over the northeastern United States. Unfortunately, for most Americans, the weather map shows that the rest of the world is much warmer and, in some cases, rather balmy.

Has the Word “Cold” become Obsolete? Meteorologists, commonly called Weather Men, are confused and upset, unable to understand the connection all this cold has to do with that warming ‘balderdash.’

Mr. More refuses to back down on his stand for Global Warming, still insisting that it isn’t cold, just slightly cool, and it is not necessary to wear an overcoat, hat, ear-muffs or gloves to ward off this ‘anti-warming’ trend, which will soon pass.

Appearing in only his well-groomed brown suit, the former Vice President gave a speech on the front steps of his home in Nashville, insisting for the umpteenth time that global warming is a real phenomena, much like extra-terrestrials, ghost-busters and Big Foot. More claims the word “cold” has become obsolete. Unfortunately, his speech was cut-off prematurely, when his teeth began chattering and he ran into the house to get warm.

More was recently challenged by representatives from The Weather Channel, who accused Alvin of being cold and unfeeling, uncool and hot-tempered. The weather bugs are challenging More and his followers to a swim-off in Lake Placid in February to see who has the guts to swim in the freezing waters. Then maybe they will remember the word “cold!”

Mental Health Care gets a Shot in the Arm

The Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act initiated by President Obama has been changed recently to make mental health care more accessible to Americans who need psychiatric treatment. Unfortunately, I had such a hard time understanding the difference between the original plan for mental health care and the present one, that I nearly went “bonkers,” so I have copied much of the info about it from psychcentral.com, a blog by John M. Grohol, psychiatrist.

People will no longer be denied coverage based upon their pre-existing condition, such as ADHD, anxiety, depression or Bipolar Disorder.

Prior to this rule, changing employers or insurance providers often meant having to pretend that a pre-existing psychiatric diagnosis didn’t exist. The new law says that you can’t discriminate against a person because of a pre-existing condition. This means that more people will get the mental health care they need and have it covered by their insurance plan. It also means an insurance plan can’t cancel your coverage for a pre-existing condition, something that was problematic for many in the past.

While the Affordable Care Act includes coverage for the treatment of both mental and substance abuse disorders at equal levels to treatment for physical concerns, limits can and still are placed on such treatments. The limits are more lax than they were perhaps under the older system, but people still do not have access to “unlimited” psychotherapy treatments. Insurance companies still require therapists to obtain authorization for additional treatments after a certain number of sessions has been reached (which varies from insurance company to company).

So, in a nutshell, we will want to make the most of each visit to the shrink of our choice.

Confusion can be an effect of Child Abuse

How well I remember the embarrassing situations of high school. I was often called crazy, scatter-brained and flighty, although I didn’t really think I was any of those things. It was not until I was fifty years old and diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, DID, (originally known as Multiple Personality Disorder, or MPD) that I realized I surely did deserve these descriptions of myself. I was not only confused, I was thirteen times more confused than normal people, because I had thirteen personalities.

During my therapy, I found that confusion was at the root of creating my alternate  personalities.

The original definition of the word ‘confuse’ means to make embarrassed, or abash. It also means to make ashamed, which is how it became connected to child abuse and then to multiple personality, one of the major effects of child abuse. If a child is being abused, the confusion can help him/her to believe they are someone else, doing something else, in another place. The confusion becomes an ally for the child so they won’t have to feel the shame, pain, nausea or anguish of the abuse.

Having sex with a child degrades the child to such an extent that the child may create an alternate personality to deal with it. That way he or she can imagine themselves as someone who is not being abused. They can also imagine that their secondary personality is somewhere else, doing something relaxing and fun. The stronger their imagination is, the greater the chance that they will create another personality, or even several, to take the abuse. Their confusion becomes a way out. It is one of the ways I dealt with sexual abuse when I was four years old.

If my mind can jump around from one idea to another, it is not hard to believe I can jump from one personality to another. I’m not sure if sexual abuse causes children to become more creative or if creativity comes to their rescue by inventing an “alter.” What do you think? Have you been abused? Have you been diagnosed with DID?

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Other Multiples

If you know someone with multiple personalities, please tell them about my blog. I would like to connect with them