Section 43A Crimes Act 1900 | Failure of Persons with Parental Responsibility to Care for Child


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If you are either the parent or legal guardian or carer of a child, you have special legal duties, powers, responsibilities and authorities in relation to your child.

A child is anyone under the age of 16.

The law says that if you have a child under the age of 16, you are obliged to provide them with the ‘necessities of life.’

‘Necessities of life’ refer to financial support, food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and education.

Should you fail to do so, and if your failure to do so endangers the child’s life or poses a risk of serious injury to them, you could face a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.

The Legislation

Section 43A deals with the offence of “Failure of Persons with Parental Responsibility to Care for Child” and reads as follows:

43A Failure of Persons with Parental Responsibility to Care for Child

(1) In this section:

“child” means a child under 16 years of age.

“parental responsibility” means the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority in respect of a child that, by law, parents have in relation to their children.

(2) A person:

(a) who has parental responsibility for a child, and

(b) who, without reasonable excuse, intentionally or recklessly fails to provide the child with the necessities of life,

is guilty of an offence if the failure causes a danger of death or of serious injury to the child.

Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

At Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, we understand how important your children are to you.

Our dedicated advocates are well-versed in criminal law and can advise you of the steps to take when it comes to fighting the charges in court.

We can help you obtain expert evidence to support your case and will work with you to develop a strong case to ensure that your liberty is best protected.

Sometimes, child neglect allegations may be made by former spouses or family members in an attempt to gain custody of the child in question.

In these cases, we can work hard to examine all the evidence to prove that you did not commit the offence and push to have the charges dropped on this basis.

Alternatively, we can also help you identify any defences or ‘reasonable excuses’ for your conduct. When raised successfully, these will result in a verdict of ‘not guilty.’

Should you wish to accept the charges against you, our criminal law specialists will fight hard to secure the most lenient penalty possible so that you can get on with your life without the charges hanging over your head.

We can help you achieve an outstanding result in your case by preparing sentencing submissions which highlight any mitigating factors that could assist your case.

We can also push to have matters heard in a lower court, where the maximum penalties are much lower.

When it comes to protecting you and your family, it’s important to get the right legal team on your side.

Call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and book a FREE first conference to discuss your ‘child neglect’ matter with us today.