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Dallas woman on trial for dehydration death of child

Abuse can take many forms and affect many different types of victims. As any Dallas family violence attorney knows, abuse is tragic and devastating for anyone involved. But when the abuse of a child results in death, it can be especially difficult for surviving family members, particularly siblings of the victim, who may fear experiencing similar treatment.

A Dallas woman is currently on trial for the death of her stepson; she is charged with serious bodily injury to a child. In 2011, the 10-year-old boy was deprived of water for five days, and forced to stand in a single spot in the kitchen, with the sun beating down on him. There was no air conditioning the home. The parents said that this was punishment for wetting the bed. The child was brought to the hospital, but doctors were unable to resuscitate him. The child's father will go on trial next month on the same charges.

When many people hear the phrase "child abuse," they imagine physical abuse. However, the legal definition of the term also encompasses emotional or sexual mistreatment by a parent or caretaker. Additionally, neglect of a child and excessive parental discipline can also be found to be child abuse, though these instances are less clear-cut. When confronting an issue of parental discipline, many courts try to balance the right of the parents to raise their children their own way and the right of the child to be safe.

Close friends and family members who suspect that a child is being abused should contact child protective services, which can then investigate the situation and take protective measures if necessary.

Source: MyFoxFW.com, "Trial begins for woman accused in boy's dehydration death," Melissa Cutler, Jan. 15, 2013

DailyMail.co.uk, "Boy, 10, died of THIRST after his parents refused him water for five days 'as punishment for wetting the bed,'" Sean O'Hare, Jan. 16, 2013

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