A 2001 study by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention maintains that Nevada ranks number one for child-abuse related child deaths per capita. The Clark County Department of Family Services claims that the majority of these cases occur in families with money or drug troubles. The Nevada Assembly is currently reviewing a bill that would allow judges to decide whether certain child abuse court hearings would be open to the public.
Nevada child abuse law is largely similar to California’s in that both states require that the prosecution prove the defendant acted willfully for a court to find them guilty. Furthermore, accident and self-defense are complete defenses in both California and Nevada child abuse law. The big distinction between the states is that California has a separate child endangerment law, whereas Nevada consolidates endangerment and abuse into one statute.
Penalties for violating Nevada child abuse law turn upon the circumstances of the alleged crime, including whether the defendant acted willfully or permissively, whether the abuse was sexual, the age of the child, whether the defendant is a repeat offender, and whether the abuse resulted in substantial harm. This substantial harm may be physical or mental. Depending on these factors, child abuse may be brought as either a gross misdemeanor or a felony in Nevada.
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