Child Abuse Under Wisconsin Law

Child abuse laws in Wisconsin are designed to keep children safe from harm, whether physical, emotional or sexual. There are several factors that determine abuse, so if you are involved in child abuse charges it is vital that you speak with a competent defense attorney right away.

Intentional vs. Reckless Harm

Generally, the law in Wisconsin defines physical abuse as the intentional or reckless infliction of bodily harm to a child. It can be difficult to prove whether the abuse was intentional or reckless, so it is important that you are working with an experienced lawyer.

  • Intentional child abuse means that the person either intended or knew that his or her conduct would cause bodily harm.
  • Reckless child abuse means that the person’s conduct created an unreasonable risk of harm to the child, and that the accused’s actions demonstrated a conscious disregard for the safety of the child.


Discipline Laws in Wisconsin

Although attitudes on physical discipline have changed greatly over the last several generations, Wisconsin does still recognize the legal right of a person responsible for a child’s welfare to physically discipline a child.

Normally, something like spanking would constitute child abuse—it is the intentional infliction of pain, which meets the definition of “bodily harm.” But a person responsible for the welfare of a child has the right to use physical discipline as long as the discipline is reasonable and does not involve an unreasonable risk of death or great bodily harm.

Possible Consequences for a Child Abuse Conviction

There are a variety of possible penalties for child abuse in Wisconsin, but it is generally taken very seriously by the authorities and prosecuted as a felony. In addition, felony charges can be issued against a person responsible for the welfare of a child for failing to prevent child abuse.

A conviction might mean spending several years in prison, terminating parental rights, or continual involvement with Child Protective Services.

How We Can Help

Child abuse is a serious charge with potentially serious consequences. At Tracey Wood & Associates, we understand how stressful it can be if you are involved in a child abuse case. We want to help you walk away with the best possible outcome and are ready to get to work for you. Contact us today to discuss your options and schedule a review of your case.


Call (608) 490-5779 or Schedule a Free Case Evaluation Online

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