Who's looking after the kids? Parental tortious and criminal liability for failure to care for and supervise children

Shircore, Mandy, and Barrett, Malcolm (2011) Who's looking after the kids? Parental tortious and criminal liability for failure to care for and supervise children. In: Abstracts from 66th Annual Conference of Australasian Law Teachers Association, p. 1. From: 66th Annual Conference of Australasian Law Teachers Association, 3 - 6 July 2011, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Parental failure to adequately care for or supervise a child has recently come under scrutiny both in criminal and civil jurisdictions. While it was once thought that parents enjoyed a form of immunity from tortious liability in negligence for failing to adequately supervise their children, recent cases have highlighted the difficulty in distinguishing between commissions or positive acts (for which a parent may be liable) and omissions to act (where liability is more contentious). Parent’s and guardians also face the prospect criminal sanctions in circumstances where their failure to adequately care for or supervise a child results in harm to the child. There are a limited number of long standing authorities where a parent or guardian had been convicted following an extended period of neglect resulting in serious harm or even death to a child. It is not until recently however that the courts have considered the criminal responsibility of parent’s for momentary lapses of care resulting in less serious harm. These cases raise interesting questions as to the circumstances under which the responsibility for care of a child can be transferred from one carer to another and the extent to which an accused's status as a parent or guardian can be taken into consideration in determining whether criminal negligence has been established.

This paper considers the various criminal offences that may arise from failure to adequately care for or supervise a child, the distinctions between criminal and civil liability in negligence, how it relates to a parent’s moral duty to care for their child and questions whether the law is moving towards too great a burden on the supervising parent.

Item ID: 21398
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Keywords: criminal law, torts law
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2012 02:02
FoR Codes: 18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180110 Criminal Law and Procedure @ 50%
18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180126 Tort Law @ 50%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9499 Other Law, Politics and Community Services > 949999 Law, Politics and Community Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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