As the world continues to shrink and immigration increases across the globe, children are more frequently being raised under the influence of several cultures. As these cultures clash, children may be subject to child-rearing practices that are abusive in one culture and accepted in another, leaving state criminal court systems to sort out the aftermath. In these cases, the accused immigrant parents may be able to use the cultural defense to escape conviction or mitigate their sentences in the face of child abuse charges. This cultural defense has been successfully used in courts all over the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and many other countries. The tremendous and increasing mobility of the global population will likely magnify the conflicts of the past and increase the use of the cultural defense in child abuse cases in the future.
Part I of this article discusses the trends in immigration and parenting that make use of the cultural defense increasingly more likely in the future. It also explains the cultural defense and children's rights under the CRC. Part II discusses the best interests principle of the CRC as the framework from which to analyze the use of the cultural defense in child abuse cases. Then, in Part III, this article analyzes the use of the cultural defense in child abuse cases from around the world under the framework of the CRC and explains why its use is in direct conflict with the CRC. Finally, Part IV proposes an internationally-derived standard against which judges or juries should compare the acts of immigrant parents in child abuse cases.
Recommended CitationR. Lee Strasburger Jr., The Best Interests of the Child?: The Cultural Defense As Justification for Child Abuse, 25 Pace Int'l L. Rev. 161 (2013)
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/pilr/vol25/iss1/6