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Child Abuse

In North Carolina and throughout the United States, there are many laws that are designed to protect children. Parents and guardians can be charged with child neglect if they fail to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment, and supervision for any child in their care. If they mistreat or abuse children in their care they can be charged with child abuse.

Child abuse laws cover a range of activities that can jeopardize the safety of children in our communities. North Carolina law protects minors from physical and emotional abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation, and holds parents/guardians responsible for the wellbeing of their child(ren). Parents and guardians may also be charged with child abuse if they do not do everything in their means to protect a child from an abuser.

North Carolina law also requires that anyone who suspects a child is being, or has been, abused must report the abuse to the appropriate authorities. This includes teachers, doctors, nurses, child care workers, and social workers and there are civil and criminal penalties for anyone who fails to do so.

Under North Carolina law, child abuse or neglect includes:

  •  Physical injury inflicted by other than accidental means upon a child by another person. 
  •  Willful harming or injury of the child or the endangering of the person or health of the child. 
  •  Unlawful corporal punishment or injury.

Willful harming or injuring of a child or the endangering of the person or health of a child means:

  • A situation in which any person willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon,  unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering.
  • Having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation in which his or her person or health is endangered.

Willful harming or injuring of a child or the endangering of the person or health of a child means:

  • Sexual assault, which includes rape, statutory rape, rape in concert, incest, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts upon a child, oral copulation, sexual penetration, or child molestation.
  • Sexual exploitation, which refers to:
  •   Depicting a minor engaged in obscene acts; preparing, selling, or distributing obscene matter   that depicts minors; employing a minor to perform obscene acts.

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