Stories

What is child abuse?

Child abuse, according to the CPSL, means intentionally, knowingly or recklessly doing any of the following:

  • Causing bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.
  • Fabricating, feigning or intentionally exaggerating or inducing a medical symptom or disease which results in a potentially harmful medical evaluation or treatment to the child through any recent act.
  • Causing or substantially contributing to serious mental injury to a child through any act or failure to act or a series of such acts or failures to act.
  • Causing sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any act or failure to act.
  • Creating a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.
  • Creating a likelihood of sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any recent act or failure to act.
  • Causing serious physical neglect of a child.
  • Causing the death of the child through any act or failure to act.

Child abuse also includes certain acts in which the act itself constitutes abuse without any resulting injury or condition. These recent acts include any of the following:

  • Kicking, biting, throwing, burning, stabbing or cutting a child in a manner that endangers the child.
  • Unreasonably restraining or confining a child, based on consideration of the method, location or the duration of the restraint or confinement.
  • Forcefully shaking a child under one year of age.
  • Forcefully slapping or otherwise striking a child under one year of age.
  • Interfering with the breathing of a child.
  • Causing a child to be present during the operation of a methamphetamine laboratory, provided that the violation is being investigated by law enforcement.
  • Leaving a child unsupervised with an individual, other than the child’s parent, who the parent knows or reasonably should have known was required to register as a Tier II or III sexual offender or has been determined to be a sexually violent predator or sexually violent delinquent.

“Recent” is defined as an abusive act within two years from the date the report is made to ChildLine. Sexual abuse, serious mental injury, serious physical neglect and deaths have no time limit.


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