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Understanding Child Abuse Statistics and Charges in Oklahoma

Statistics regarding instances of child abuse in Oklahoma have continually plagued the state, despite the fact that these statistics may not be entirely accurate. In a 2009 “Child Maltreatment Report,” Oklahoma was listed as having the third highest rate of child abuse in the United States, and other reports have consistently named Oklahoma among the …

Statistics regarding instances of child abuse in Oklahoma have continually plagued the state, despite the fact that these statistics may not be entirely accurate. In a 2009 “Child Maltreatment Report,” Oklahoma was listed as having the third highest rate of child abuse in the United States, and other reports have consistently named Oklahoma among the top five states with the highest child abuse rates across the country. As a result of these reports, Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services (DHS) has been placed under intense scrutiny, although some lawmakers and state officials claim that the national statistics do not accurately reflect the prevalence of child abuse in Oklahoma. If you have been charged with child abuse or neglect in Oklahoma, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center to discuss your legal options.

Oklahoma Definition of Child Abuse

Because the federal government hasn’t established a nationwide standard in reporting child abuse and neglect, states can vary widely in their definition of child abuse, which can subsequently impact the validity of these statistics. According to the Oklahoma DHS, the state’s definition of child abuse is broader than that of other U.S. states, which results in a higher number of reported child abuse cases. As DHS Director Howard Hendrick says, “In Oklahoma, our definition is harm or risk of harm. In some states, you must have an actual physical injury, and in some states you have a burden of proof that’s clear and convincing evidence.” In light of this information, Hendrick argues that child abuse rates in Oklahoma are skewed, and that the rate of child abuse and neglect have actually declined in the state.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers for Help

Under Oklahoma law, any person engaging in or enabling child abuse in the state will, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony offense, punishable by up to lifetime imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections, or up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of between $500 and $5,000. If you are facing felony charges for abusing a child or enabling child abuse in Oklahoma, don’t hesitate to protect your legal rights – contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center as soon as possible. Our qualified team of criminal defense lawyers has years of experience protecting the legal and civil rights of those accused of Oklahoma crimes, and will work diligently to have your charges reduced or dismissed altogether.

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