Cruelty to children.
246.—(1) It shall be an offence for any person who has the custody, charge or care of a child wilfully to assault, ill-treat, neglect, abandon or expose the child, or cause or procure or allow the child to be assaulted, ill-treated, neglected, abandoned or exposed, in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to the child's health or seriously to affect his or her wellbeing.
(2) A person found guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—
(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £1,500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both, or
(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding £10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years or both.
(3) A person may be convicted of an offence under this section—
(a) notwithstanding the death of the child in respect of whom the offence is committed, or
(b) notwithstanding that actual suffering or injury to the health of the child, or the likelihood of such suffering or injury, was obviated by the action of another person.
(4) On the trial of any person for the murder of a child of whom the person has the custody, charge or care, the court or the jury, as the case may be, may, if satisfied that the accused is guilty of an offence under this section in respect of the child, find the accused guilty of that offence.
(5) For the purposes of this section a person shall be deemed to have neglected a child in a manner likely to cause the child unnecessary suffering or injury to his or her health or seriously to affect his or her wellbeing if the person—
(a) fails to provide adequate food, clothing, heating, medical aid or accommodation for the child, or
(b) being unable to provide such food, clothing, heating, medical aid or accommodation, fails to take steps to have it provided under the enactments relating to health, social welfare or housing.
(6) In subsection (1) the reference to a child's health or wellbeing includes a reference to the child's physical, mental or emotional health or wellbeing.
(7) For the purposes of this section ill-treatment of a child includes any frightening, bullying or threatening of the child, and “ill-treat” shall be construed accordingly.