Child Abuse Laws

By Georgia Law, child abuse includes the following acts:

  • Physical injury or death inflicted upon a child by a parent or caretaker thereof, by other than accidental means; provided, however, physical forms of discipline may be used as long as there is not physical injury to the child.
  • Neglect or exploitation of a child by a parent or caretaker thereof.
  • Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child.
  • No child, who in good faith is being treated solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof shall, for that reason alone, by considered to be an “abused” child.

In most U.S. states, the legal definition of child molestation is: an act of a person, adult, or child, who forces, coerces, or threatens a child to have any form of sexual contact, or to engage in any type of sexual activity at the perpetrator’s direction.

“Sexual abuse” shall not include consensual sex acts involving persons of the opposite sex when the sex acts are between minors or between a minor and an adult who is not more than five years older than the minor.

This provision shall not be deemed or constructed to repeal any law concerning the age of capacity to consent.

The Department of Family and Children Services must immediately notify the appropriate police authority or district attorney of reports containing any allegation or evidence of child abuse.

[source: “Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Law,” Georgia Code Section 19-7-5 and National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS)-Project of the National Center of Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN): US Department of Health and Human Services, 1997.]