Marin Child Abuse Prevention Council

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The following links provide detailed information about child abuse and neglect.

General Definitions of Child Abuse

Physical Abuse refers to a physical injury, inflicted by other than accidental means, on a child by another person.

Some examples of physical abuse are: beating, unjustifiable corporal punishment and homicide. Any homicide of a child must be reported, including gang activity related homicides.

Sexual Abuse includes sexual assault, exploitation, rape, incest, sodomy, or lewd and lascivious acts upon the body of a minor; oral copulation, penetration of genital or anal openings by foreign object; child molesting, penetration of vagina or anus by penis; sexual contact between genitals or anus by mouth or tongue; intrusion into genitals or anus by any object; intentional touching of genitals or intimate parts to arouse or gratify; intentional masturbation of perpetrator’s genitals in child’s presence.

Sexual Exploitation means sending or bringing into the state, for the sale or distribution, matter depicting sexual conduct by minors; employment of a minor to perform prohibited acts; depicting by film, photograph, videotape, etc., sexual conduct by a minor; aiding, promoting, coercing, etc., a child to perform obscene sexual acts for the purpose of producing pictorial depictions.

Mental/Emotional Abuse is the infliction of mental or emotional suffering on a child. Although mandated reporters have the legal option to report or not report mental/emotional abuse, if they do report this type of child abuse to a Child Protective Agency (CPS), CPS must investigate and send a report to the Department of Justice.

An example of mental/emotional abuse is excessive verbal harassment.

Severe Neglect means that a child’s welfare has been risked or endangered or has been ignored to the point where the child has failed to thrive. Generally, the standard is that a child has been physically harmed or a very high probability exists that acts or omissions by responsible persons would lead to physical harm.

An example of severe neglect is failure to provide adequate medical care that could lead to death.

General Neglect refers to the negligent failure of a parent or caretaker to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care or supervision, where no physical injury to the child has occurred.

An example of general neglect is a parent who does not send a child to school or one who does not get needed medical care for a child.


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