Citing APSAC, Utah AG Tells State Supreme Court Hitting Children with a Belt is Abuse

May 4, 2016

The Utah Attorney General’s Office has filed a brief with the State’s Supreme in an appeal from a trial court’s finding that hitting a child with a belt is harmful to children and therefore constitutes child abuse. The AG cited APSAC’s 2016 Position Statement: Corporal Punishment of Children as support for its argument that hitting children with an object such as a belt is inherently harmful and therefore constitutes grounds for the juvenile court to assert authority over a child.  

In the case, B.T. & B.S v. State of Utah, the parents admitted that they hit their four children with belts, but argued that doing so was “reasonable discipline,” which a parent may exercise under state law. The juvenile court disagreed finding that the pain inflicted upon a child from being hit with an object constituted child abuse under the state’s child protection laws. The parents appealed.  A decision by the Utah Supreme Court is forthcoming.


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