What Is Child Abuse?

What Is Child Abuse?

The CDC defines child abuse as "any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm, the potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child."
There are many forms of child maltreatment, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and commercially exploited youth.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual conduct harmful to a child's mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of indecent with a child, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault; failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct harmful to a child; compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct; and causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filing or depicting of the child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, fil, or depiction of the child is obscene or pornographic. 

Physical Abuse

Physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation is given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent or guardian that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm. Physical abuse also includes failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another person that results in physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child.

Emotional Abuse

Inflicting mental or emotional injury to a child, and/or causing or permitting the child to be in a situation in which the child sustains a mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment in the child's growth, development, or psychological functioning.


The leaving of a child in a situation where the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm, without arranging for necessary care for the child, and the demonstration of an intent not to return by a parent or guardian of the child.


Commercially Exploited Youth

Exploitation means the illegal or improper use of a child or of the resources of a child for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain by an employee, volunteer, or other individuals.


Definitions are taken from Texas State Family Code, Section 261.001


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