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Category: Family Law
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Is it legal to spank your child in Massachusetts?

Customer Question

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Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Attorney & Mediator replied 9 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

Spanking is not illegal so long as it is reasonable and does not extend to a form of abuse (considered excessive corporal punishment).


MASSACHUSETTS

Reasonable corporal punishment by a parent is not prohibited. Excessive corporal punishment determined by statutory definition of abuse. Actual injury and substantial risk of injury, as defined by statute, considered abuse not reasonable corporal punishment. Cobble v. Commissioner of Dept. of Social Services, 719 N.E.2d 500 (Mass. 1999) "Abuse" is the non-accidental commission of any act by a caretaker upon a child which causes, or creates a substantial risk of physical or emotional injury. Physical injury defined as fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, burns, impairment of any organ, any other such nontrivial injury, or soft tissue swelling or skin bruising depending upon such factors as the child's age, circumstances under which the injury occurred and the number and location of bruises. 110 Sec. 2 [Ci.]

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Legal Disclaimer: The information given by me is for informational/research/educational use only and you are paying me only for such information. The information contained herewith is not legal advice and by rendering such information there is no formation of an attorney-client relationship. I also do not claim to be licensed to practice in the state where this information is being provided. I strive to provide quality information, but I make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked herein and it’s associated sites. As law is always changing, you are advised to speak with the appropriate legal counsel for accurate information. Thank you.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
What is the law to do if the child (11 yrs. old) abuses the parent? Punching, kicking, swaring, pushing hard? What can I do to help him before he ends up in the laws hands?
Expert:  Attorney & Mediator replied 9 years ago.
Sorry to hear what you are going through.

Since the parent is legally responsible for the discipline of their child, the only legal avenue afforded to the parent is to get the law enforcement involved. Otherwise, the parent needs to be responsible for finding intervention on behalf of the child, such as counseling, boot camp or other private services which assist troubled children.

Child protective services will not get involved here as they only respond to abuse of children. You can contact them for a list of providers to help you with troubled children, but they are not going to provide assistance.


Please accept my answer for the work I have provided you and to close this window. Thank you for using Just Answer.

Legal Disclaimer: The information given by me is for informational/research/educational use only and you are paying me only for such information. The information contained herewith is not legal advice and by rendering such information there is no formation of an attorney-client relationship. I also do not claim to be licensed to practice in the state where this information is being provided. I strive to provide quality information, but I make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked herein and it’s associated sites. As law is always changing, you are advised to speak with the appropriate legal counsel for accurate information. Thank you.