WHAT IS CHILD ABUSE?
Child abuse, in practical terms, refers to an act committed by a parent, caregiver or person in a position of trust (even though he/she may not care for the child on a daily basis) which is not accidental and which harms or threatens to harm a child’s physical or mental health or welfare. Each state has its own definition of what constitutes “child abuse” under civil and criminal laws, and each church in the Diocese should be familiar with the relevant laws and legal definitions in its jurisdiction. In general, the definitions of “child abuse” and “child neglect” in all states in our Diocese include the following elements (among others):
- PHYSICAL ABUSE
- NEGLECT (BOTH PHYSICAL AND MENTAL)
- SEXUAL ABUSE/EXPLOITATION
For specific definitions of child abuse and reporting procedures in your state, review the state law.