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What Is the Crime of Child Abuse?

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Question: What Is the Crime of Child Abuse?
Answer: Child abuse is any act or failure to act that results in the harm, potential for harm or the threat of harm to a child, according to the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The crime of child abuse can be brought in most jurisdiction not only for any overt act that harms a child, but also for any failure to act that results in the child being harmed.

Therefore, one of the most common forms of child abuse in the U.S. is child neglect, when the child's basic needs are not provided by parents or caregivers. In most states, this not only includes food, clothing and shelter, but also emotional, medical and educational needs.

Three other types of child abuse are physical abuse, sexual abuse and psychological or emotional abuse. Many states have passed laws and regulations that carefully define what does and does not define these forms of child abuse to outline the specific conditions under which and child can be removed from a home.

Controversies have occurred when children have been taken away from their parents for spanking the child, criticizing the child or taking photographs of children while in the bathtub. Therefore, many states have spelled out exactly which acts toward children can be considered abusive.

Unlike other crimes, child abuse is a crime that certain professionals - teachers, counselors, health and other caregivers - must report to the authorities, in most states. The failure to report child abuse is itself a crime in a growing number of states.

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