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What Are Laws for Parent When Child Is Abusive?

By Lynne Haley Rose ; Updated April 18, 2017
Parent abuse is a form of domestic violence.

The abuse of a parent by a child often goes unreported due to several factors. Perhaps a parent being harassed by a child is too embarrassed to bring the abuse to light. However, whenever a child or teen intentionally harms a parent, either with words or blows, it qualifies as parent abuse. Other forms of parent abuse can occur between an elderly or infirm parent and his child, especially when the child has assumed the role of a caregiver. If you are a parent of a teenager or are experiencing abuse from an adult child, you should fully understand the laws pertaining to this situation.

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Laws Regarding Parent Abuse

If your child is defiant to the point of breaking the law, you can have him arrested.

When the abuse of a child is in question, every state has mandatory reporting laws and mandated procedures for dealing with the abuse. As many as 18 states hold doctors and nurses, mental health professionals, social workers, teachers and law enforcement personnel responsible for reporting instances of abuse they observe or suspect. Most people do not consider evidence of abuse by a teen to be a matter for public address. Rather, when someone observes a teen speaking rudely to a parent in public or demanding more money for shopping, he chalks that up to a parent's inability to control the child rather than as abuse that should be legally stopped. However, when a teen crosses the line from blatant rudeness to physical assault, or from cajoling for more money to taking money without parental permission, the law kicks in to protect a parent just as it would any other citizen. Parents whose teens are not only defying the house rules but breaking the law have every right to call in law enforcement to curtail this type of behavior.

Teenage Abuser Laws

No one wants to see this car parked in their driveway, but sometimes legal assistance is the only answer.

Children up to the age of 18 are governed by the laws and procedures of juvenile court. Any conviction on abuse charges would not appear on their permanent criminal records. Juvenile laws are in place to take over when a child refuses to abide by parental rules. Therefore, a parent suffering physical, emotional or financial abuse at the hands of a child should not be ashamed to call the police. Penalties for criminal behavior such as assault and theft may be less extreme than those for adult perpetrators, but they can effectively stop abuse at home before irredeemable harm occurs to the family.

Elder Abuse Law

According to the Administration on Aging, there are four common types of elder abuse: physical, which includes sexual assault; psychological; financial; and neglect or abandonment. When elder abuse occurs at home, it is often caused by the adult child of the abused individual. In 1992, national lawmakers responded to increasing claims of this type of abuse by enacting the Vulnerable Elder Rights Protection Program to fund state initiatives addressing elder abuse. Some states have established laws to address specific abuse victims, elder abuse is a crime in every state. Some states draw upon existing laws against assault and domestic violence in elder abuse trials, with increased penalties because the abused victim is a senior citizen.

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About the Author

I have an MFA degree in Creative Writing and am a published poet who has received several poetry awards. I have established a reputation as an environmental activist, both through the group I co-founded -- see alternativeone.org -- and through a series of op-ed pieces in Montana newspapers. I have written extensively on alternative energy, recycling and endangered species.

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