New Child Abuse Law Takes Effect In Delaware
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Legislation aimed at strengthening prosecution of child-abuse cases is now law in Delaware.
A bill signed by Gov. Jack Markell on Wednesday broadens language in existing statutes, creating the new felony of second-degree child abuse. Second-degree abuse includes intentionally or recklessly injuring a child who is 3-years-old or younger or who has significant intellectual or developmental disabilities. Because the bill defines injury as "any impairment of physical condition or pain," some critics worried that parents could be prosecuted simply for spanking their young children.
Supporters say the measure does not outlaw spanking or prohibit parents from using reasonable and appropriate discipline. Officials say the new law will help prosecutors win cases involving babies, toddlers and disabled children who are unable to describe what happened to them.