What is Child Abuse?

What is Child Abuse?

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
  • "An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm."

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.

State of Georgia:
The State of Georgia Mandated Reporter Law (O.C.G.A. §19-7-5) of 2016 defines child abuse as:

  • Physical injury or death inflicted upon a child by a parent or caretaker thereof by other than accidental means; provided, however, that physical forms of discipline may be used as long as there is no physical injury to the child;
  • Neglect or exploitation of a child by a parent or caretaker thereof;
  • Endangering a child;
  • Sexual abuse of a child; or
  • Sexual exploitation of a child.

"Child" under this definition means any person under 18 years of age.