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Child Abuse

Child abuse occurs when a person who has a duty of care toward a child exposes them to a foreseeable risk of abuse.

A. Duty

1. Common Law
Common law has always recognized the duty of a parent toward small children.

2. Statutes
A person has a duty of care toward a child when that person is:

a. The child’s parent or adoptive parent,

b. The child’s legal guardian,

c. One who has assumed responsibility for the child in the absence of its parent/legal guardian, or

d. One who has secluded a child from the care of its parent/legal guardian.

B. Forms of Abuse

1. Neglect
Refusal to provide for the needs of a child or to protect the child from an known abusive person.

2. Physical Abuse
Beatings, physically restraining or disciplining a child for reasons other than the child’s welfare.

3. Verbal Abuse
Verbally attacking a child for reasons other than concern for its welfare.

4. Sexual Abuse
Any forced sexual activity with a child or by children.

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