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What is Child Abuse?

The first step in helping abused or neglected children is learning to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect. The presence of a single sign does not mean that child maltreatment is occurring in a family, but a closer look at the situation may be warranted when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination. 

 

In some cases, the signs of abuse are easy to spot. In many instances, the signs and symptoms are well hidden or not easily observed. Additionally, there is often confusion about what constitutes abuse and physical discipline.In some cases, the signs of abuse are easy to spot. In many instances, the signs and symptoms are well hidden or not easily observed. Additionally, there is often confusion about what constitutes abuse and physical discipline.

 

head downFederal legislation provides guidance to States by identifying a minimum set of acts or behaviors that define child abuse and neglect. The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g), as amended by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum:

"Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation"; or 

This definition of child abuse and neglect refers specifically to parents and other caregivers.

 

A "child" under this definition generally means a person who is younger than age 18 or who is not an emancipated minor.  While CAPTA provides definitions for sexual abuse and the special cases of neglect related to withholding or failing to provide medically indicated treatment, it does not provide specific definitions for other types of maltreatment such as physical abuse, neglect, or emotional abuse.

 

While Federal legislation sets minimum standards for States that accept CAPTA funding, each State provides its own definitions of maltreatment within civil and criminal statutes. CODE OF MARYLAND REGULATIONS (COMAR) defines child abuse and child neglect as:

• Physical injury not (necessarily visible) of a child under circumstances that indicate that a child’s health or welfare is harmed or at substantial risk of being harmed.

• The failure to give proper care and attention to a child, leaving a child unattended where the child’s health or welfare is harmed or a child is placed in substantial risk of harm.

• An act or acts involving sexual molestation or exploitation whether physical injuries are sustained or not.

• Identifiable and substantial impairment of a child’s mental or psychological ability to function.

• Finding credible evidence that has not been satisfactorily refuted that physical abuse, neglect or sexual abuse occurred.

• Finding credible evidence that has not been satisfactorily refuted that physical abuse, neglect or sexual abuse occurred.

Types of Abuse

• Physical Abuse

• Neglect

• Child Sexual Assault and Abuse

• Emotional Abuse

• Abandonment

Members & Volunteers

Upcoming Events

December 7th 4:00pm to 7:00pm: ‎Fence & 'Deck The Halls' Holiday Clothing Drive in Millersville: Join us at Fence & Deck Connection in Millersville as they support The Blue Ribbon Project. More Info...


December 8th 2:00pm to 4:00pm: Volunteer Day: A day when volunteers come in to help sort donations and build Backpacks of Love. More Info...


December 14th 10:00am to 2:00pm: Speak Up...Speak Out Child Abuse Awareness Training: Join us for this free Child Abuse Awareness Training Program for Professionals More Info...


February 8th 10:00am to 2:00pm: Speak Up...Speak Out Child Abuse Awareness Training: Join us for this free Child Abuse Awareness Training Program for Professionals More Info...