All states require certain professionals and institutions to report suspected child abuse, including health care providers and facilities of all types, clergy members, mental health care providers of all types, teachers and other school personnel, social workers, professional foster parents, day care providers, and law enforcement personnel. Additionally, all states require the report to be made to some type of law enforcement authority or child protection agency. Reporting to a parent or relative is not sufficient.
Child Abuse Definition
Child abuse can be defined as any action, or failure to act, that results in serious bodily or mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, or serious physical neglect of a person less than 18 years of age.
Serious physical injury is bodily injury that creates severe pain, a substantial risk of death, and/or permanent or temporary impairment, loss of function, or disfigurement of a body part.
Serious mental injury is the creation of, or refusal to obtain appropriate treatment for, a diagnosed psychological condition that seriously interferes with a child’s ability to accomplish age-appropriate development and social tasks.
Sexual abuse or exploitation is the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, or coercion of a child to engage in or assist another to engage in any sexually explicit conduct or simulation for the purpose of producing visual depictions of explicit sexual conduct (e.g., photographs, videotape, computer software, etc.).
Serious physical neglect is the prolonged or repeated lack of supervision or failure to provide the essentials of life (including adequate medical care) that endangers a child’s development or impairs a child’s functioning.