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CHILD TESTIMONY IN A CHILD ABUSE CASE Child abuse is a serious crime this is a known fact However are children always a reliable source of information Some experts do not think so The criminal process of a child abuse case is a critical issue and in some cases the testimony of a child should be doubted Child abuse generally refers to the mistreatment of a child by a parent or other adult It includes life threatening physical violence including severe beatings burns and strangulation It also may involve sexual abuse emotional abuse and neglect The number one cause of child abuse is the parents stress Many who hurt children may only intend to correct them but do not realize how easily they can be injured Everyone must report suspected child abuse because failure to make a report is a misdemeanor and punishable by up to six months in prison and a five hundred dollar fine However in most cases there is little or no evidence of the abuse or the identity of the abuser other than the childs statements It must be recognized that false accusations of child abuse are harmful to the child because the accused parent is taken out of their life The accusatory process of an abuse parent requires critical examination It begins with a written statement called an information filed by the prosecutor It basically states the charges against the accused individual In response the court issues an arrest warrant takes the accused into custody and fixes bail which may be 300-500 The first court proceeding brings the accused before the court and they receive notice of charge and their rights Between the original court appearance and the time of trial the defendant may agree to plea bargain and reduce the charge However if the defendant elects to deny the charge they go to trial The defendant is not required to testify It has been seen that the criminal
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