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One of the best ways you can help prevent child abuse is to understand what it is and how you can stop it. Below are definitions and examples of the different types of abuse recognized by the Indiana legal system.
Legal Definition of Abuse: Indiana Code 31-34-1 states “…the child’s physical or mental health is seriously endangered due to injury by the act or omission of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian.”What Is Physical Abuse?
Physical abuse is the intentional infliction of physical injury or allowing another to do so. Some physical indicators include unexplained bruises, welts, burns, lumps, fractures, cuts or abrasions; dental/oral injuries.
Sexual abuse is the use of a child for sexual gratification by an adult or older child in a position of power, or permitting another person to do so. Physical indicators include any venereal disease; bruised/dilated genitals or rectum; pregnancy under 16 years of age; difficulty/pain in walking or sitting; foreign matter in bladder, rectum or urethra; torn, stained or bloody underclothing; recurrent urinary tract infections.What Is Neglect?
Neglect is the chronic failure to meet child’s basic needs for food, clothes, shelter, medical care, education or supervision. Physical indicators can include flat, bald spots on infant’s head; dirty and/or smelly child; torn, dirty or inappropriate clothing for the weather; developmental lags; underweight child.What Is Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse is the chronic attitude or acts of a caretaker which are detrimental to the child’s development of a sound and healthy personality. Some indicators include eating disorders; elimination problems; sleep problems; sadistic or masochistic behavior; suicidal acts; reports emotional abuse.What can I do if I suspect that children are being abused?
Call your the Child Protective Services (CPS) hotline, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. 1-800-800-5556. Indiana law requires the reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect. If you do not report suspected child abuse and neglect, you can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. You can remain anonymous and are immune from all civil and criminal liability, if you’ve made the report in good faith.