Assessing And Prevention Of Child Abuse

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Assessing and Preventing Child Abuse

The definition of "child abuse" varies by state. Although every definition of child abuse must meet certain federal minimum standards, a fine line can still exist between what constitutes abuse and what is a harsh but appropriate punishment. Generally, however, most recognized types of child abuse fall into four categories including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. It is a crime in every state to intentionally or recklessly cause injury to a child. As such, all states have statutes which outline the appropriate procedures for reporting and investigating incidents of child abuse.

Federal Minimum Definition of Child Abuse
In 1974, Congress enacted the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) in order to address concerns regarding abused children. CAPTA, as amended and reauthorized by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003, defines child abuse and neglect at a minimum as:

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.

CAPTA provides funding to all the states in order to further its goals in the prevention, assessment, investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse.

State Definitions of Child Abuse
Each state is required to at least use the federal minimum definition of child abuse but
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