Types of Abuse

Abuse comes in many different forms. The information below will help you identify different types of abuse and how the law defines them. Click on the blue links below for more information on each topic.


Kids on Bench



CHILD ABUSE DEFINED
In Washington State, RCW 26.44.020 (1) defines abuse and neglect as injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child under circumstances which indicate that the child's health, welfare, and/or safety is harmed.


PHYSICAL INJURY
 Physical discipline of a child is not considered abuse as long as it is reasonable and moderate as defined in RCW 9A.16.100. Any use of force on a child by any persons other than the child's parent, guardian, or teacher is unlawful unless it is reasonalble and moderate and is authorized in advance by the child's parent, or guardian. 

EMOTIONAL INJURY
A child who has been injured mentally is one who sustains damage to intellectual, psychological, emotional or psychological functioning which is clearly attributable
to the non-accidental acts or omissions of the parent or guardian.

Examples of a parental or caretaker behaviors include a pattern of rejecting, isolating, ignoring, corrupting or terrorizing a child.

SEXUAL ABUSE
There is a wide range of offenses defined in the Washington state criminal code involving children that constitute sexual abuse such as: indecent liberties, communication with a minor for immoral purposes, sexual exploitation of a minor, child molestation, sexual misconduct with a minor, rape of a child and rape.

NEGLECT
Negligent treatment or maltreatment (a dangerous act) is that which constitutes a clear and present danger to the child’s health, welfare, and safety such as:

  • Failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, emotional nurturing or health care;
  • Failure to provide adequate supervision in relation to a child’s level of development;
  • An act of abandonment;
  • An act of exploitation;
  • An act of reckless endangerment;
  • Other dangerous acts such as hitting, kicking, throwing, choking a child or
    shaking an infant.
Neglect is further defined in RCW 26-44-020 (17).

You can find out more information on abuse by visiting: http://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/