Kidnapping began as a crime which involved forcibly abducting someone and carrying him or her to a different country. Today, kidnapping occurs when someone forcibly abducts or confines another person against his or her will.
Children occupy a special place in the law. Legal systems presume that children do not have the mental capacity to care for themselves or make their own choices. Instead, many of the choices a child has are often made by the child's parent, legal guardian, or custodian.
Parents or guardians who care for minor children have a legal responsibility to protect the children and ensure they are not exposed to harm. When such an adult deserts or abandons a child, that behavior is often a crime. Even though child abandonment and desertion laws differ significantly among states, all states have laws that criminalize this type of behavior.
Standing on the sidewalk with your three-year-old, she pulls away from you and starts running toward a busy street. To her, it is a game, but to you, it is a life-threatening situation. You grab her just as she heads into the street and deliver a swift smack on the bum with an admonition, “No running in the street!” Startled, she stops. Have you just committed a crime?
Spanking, also called corporal punishment, is a discipline method in which a person inflicts pain but not injury on a child in order to modify the child’s behavior. In some states, it is perfectly legal for teachers and school administrators to spank children. In other states, using physical discipline can result in criminal charges.