Child abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment or neglect
of a child or children. Child abuse can occur in a child’s home,
or in the organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with.
The most likely children to be abused are handicapped and/or mentally challenged
children, unwanted children, mall preemies, and willful children.
Anyone “having cause to believe that a child’s physical or
mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by abuse
or neglect” must report the case to any state or local laws enforcement
agency and the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.
An oral report must be made immediately to the nearest Child Protective
Service Office, to the 24-hour Child Abuse Hotline (800-253-5400), or to the local law enforcement officials. As a follow-up, a written
report must be made into the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services
within five days.
Anyone who files a report is immune from civil or criminal liability if
the report is made in “good faith” and “without malice.”