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Domestic Battery: When Does Disciplining a Child Become Abuse?

 Posted on August 17, 2017 in Assault & Battery

child abuse, domestic battery, Rolling Meadows domestic battery defense attorney, corporal punishment, physical disciplineThere is great debate these days among parenting “experts” about whether or not children should be physically disciplined when they misbehave. Some think that children should never be physically reprimanded, others believe in spanking, and some feel that more violent forms of punishment (such as hitting a child with a stick or whipping them with a belt) is permissible.

Regardless of how you feel about corporal punishment as a parenting technique, it is critical that every parent in Illinois understands the legal line that our state has drawn between physical discipline and child abuse. It should be noted that this line is not as clear-cut as you might expect; however, this article explores the legal distinction between physical discipline and abuse according to Illinois law.

The Legal Line Between Physical Discipline and Abuse

The Appellate Court of Illinois held in In re F.W. that parents in our state have the right to physically discipline their children. However, a parent’s right to physically discipline his or herchild is not unlimited.

Under code section 705 ILCS 405/2-3(2)(v) physical punishment of a child becomes abuse if the corporal punishment inflicted is “excessive.” But how are we to know when physical punishment becomes excessive? Unfortunately, the statute does not explain what constitutes excessive corporal punishment. However the Illinois State Bar Association notes that based on the applicable case law Illinois courts consider the following factors when determining whether or not a particular instance of physical discipline was excessive:

  • Injuries sustained by the child;
  • Any psychological issues exhibited by the child that can be attributed to the incident;
  • What part of the child’s body was affected;
  • The likelihood that excessive corporal punishment will be administered in the future;
  • The danger of further mental trauma or bodily harm;
  • How old the child is;
  • The purpose of the punishment;
  • The general reasonableness of the act; and
  • Any other information relevant to the case.

Child Abuse Penalties

If an Illinois court finds that a parent did in fact inflict excessive corporal punishment on his or her child that parent may face the penalties associated with a Class 1, Class 2, or Class 3 felony offense.

Have You Been Accused of Committing Child Abuse in Illinois?

As you can see, the line between permissible corporal punishment and child abuse in Illinois is not crystal clear. Therefore, if you have been accused of committing child abuse in Illinois, it is critical that you retain an experienced Rolling Meadows domestic battery defense attorney without delay. Having an excellent defense attorney fighting for you can make all the difference in cases like these where both sides of the aisle will be presenting evidence arguing whether or not the corporal punishment inflicted was “excessive.” To schedule an initial consultation with one of the exceptional criminal defense lawyers of The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, contact our Rolling Meadows office today.


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