Federal Definition






Child sexual abuse can happen in many different ways. The federal government defines child abuse as: 

1. Any act by a parent that results in death, physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or mistreatment; or 

2. An act that creates a risk of serious injury.

To know what child abuse is, one must know what constitutes a child. A child isn't always defined as a person under the age of 18; each state has its own definition. 

When it comes to child abuse, state law plays an even bigger role than federal law; learn more about state law here.
 

For more information, see the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, 42 U.S.C.A. 5106g.

* This webpage does not serve as legal advice and is intended simply to provide you with basic resources. If you find yourself amidst legal issues, consider engaging legal counsel.

 
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