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What is abuse?
Our society does not condone the abuse of anyone, let alone children. Abuse has extremely serious effects on a child and significant implications in law.
Abuse takes many forms and should be reported promptly so it can be investigated by the appropriate authorities. There are obligations under Federal and State laws for the compulsory reporting of suspected or actual child abuse.
Child abuse is harm to, or neglect of, a child by another person, whether adult or child. It can be physical, verbal, sexual or through neglect.
- Physical abuse sometimes results in serious injury to the child and is often evident though welts, bruises or burns.
- Verbal abuse often results in aggressive or withdrawn behaviour and a child that is afraid to go home.
- Sexual abuse can be recognised by a range of physical, emotional and behavioural signs.
- Neglect can be seen in the child being unwashed or uncared for, undernourished or in obvious need of medical or dental treatment.
The type of abuse is essentially irrelevant under the law. If abuse occurs, or if you have reasonable grounds to believe that there is abuse, take any evidence you have to the police or to the child welfare authorities in your state. If you have a lawyer, also advise him or her about your concerns or any action that you may have taken.
However, making false claims may well rebound on you. Not only is it against the law but such claims throw serious doubt on your credibility.