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Is There a Connection Between Domestic Violence, Juvenile Offenses, and Child Abuse ?

Posted by William Bly | Nov 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

An interesting statistic about domestic violence is coming out of a town in Illinois, as it tracks the sources of juvenile offenses.

Illinois Police Department See a Connection Between Domestic Violence and Juvenile Offenses

Rockford, Illinois, is a city along the border of Illinois and Wisconsin – northwest of Chicago and south of Madison, Wisconsin. It has a population of around 150,000, making it more than twice the size of Portland, Maine, but like most Midwest cities, it is far more spread out.

Police in Rockford have been struck with a surge in juvenile crimes in the past few years. In 2018, there were 32 juvenile arrests. With November and December still to go in 2019, that number has already been passed.

According to police who have looked at the histories of the young adults who have been arrested, one of the consistent narratives has been that they had abusive home lives. Three out of every four of the teens arrested for a violent crime in 2019 had a documented past of witnessing or suffering from domestic abuse from parents or an adult family member.

Maine Domestic Violence Law Includes Child Abuse

In Maine, a crime of domestic violence is a criminal offense – like assaultstalking, or terrorizing – that is committed against the categories of people listed in Maine Statute 19-A § 4002(4). Included in those groups of people are “minor children of a household member when the defendant is an adult household member.”

Under this statute, crimes committed by adults against children they live with – whether or not they are related – fall under the realm of domestic violence.

Child Abuse Can Lead to Another Investigation by the OCFS

The same course of conduct, though, can lead to multiple investigations in Maine. Domestic violence against a child is one of them. Not only can it lead to criminal charges for domestic violence, but it can also amount to child abuse. If it does, the child abuse can be pursued separately under Maine's Child and Family Services and Child Protection Act.

Child abuse is usually investigated by the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) rather than the local district attorney's office. While this means the sanctions are lower – DHHS can't put people in jail, for example – it also means that your rights as a criminal defendant are not triggered.

While the repercussions are less severe than they would be, if it were a criminal investigation, a DHHS investigation for child abuse is far from trivial. You can lose custody and could even have your parental rights completely terminated.

Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers at WTB Law

The criminal defense lawyers at WTB Law help defend people in Maine who have been accused of domestic violence. These allegations can lead to DHHS investigations that can implicate your parental rights, especially when the alleged victim of the abuse is a child.

Contact us online or call our law office at (207) 571-8146 if you have been accused of domestic violence in Portland, Saco, or Biddeford.

About the Author

William Bly

William T. Bly, Esq. is a graduate of Rutgers College where he majored in Political Science with a minor in U.S. History. Attorney Bly attended and graduated the University of Maine School of Law. During his time in law school, Attorney Bly focused on criminal defense.

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