Del. House approves expanded child abuse law

June 28, 2012 5:13:45 PM PDT
The state House has approved a bill aimed at strengthening prosecution of child abuse cases in Delaware, despite concerns by some lawmakers that it could affect parents' ability to discipline their children.

The bill cleared the House on a 34-to-7 vote Thursday after winning unanimous approval in the Senate last week.

In broadening the language in existing law, the bill creates the new felony of second-degree child abuse. Second-degree abuse would include intentionally or recklessly causing physical injury to a child who is 3 years old or younger or who has significant intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Because the bill defines physical injury to a child as "any impairment of physical condition or pain," some critics fear parents could be prosecuted simply for spanking their young children, which bill supporters deny.