Representing Abused Children: Practice and…

by Joel Levin*

Recent European Courts of Justice and European Parliaments have held that even minor corporal punishment to children by their own parents can constitute an indefensible deprivation of human and civil rights, based on evolving standards of international and civil rights law. (Although, that said, attitudes remain ambivalent, if not schizophrenic. The British Parliament in July 2004 began the process of passing compromise legislation that would allow only corporal punishment without any physical or mental harm, perhaps virtual paddling or cyber swiping). Ohio cases described here and in the previous article can hardly approach such aggressive and global protection of our children, but they do suggest there to be a rapidly evolving standard protecting the last humans given full civil rights by our society. Certainly, after researching the law, figuring out how to overcome potential defenses, finding insurance, establishing proper guardianship, cross examining derelict agents of the defendants, and proving liability sufficient to provide a settlement or jury award, it is hard to imagine a more rewarding experience in the practice of law than being able to set aside money to help gain some small measure of happiness for an abused child.