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What is the Definition of Child Abuse in Arizona?


Child abuse is one of the worst crimes that exists because children are so vulnerable and can be permanently scarred both physically and emotionally by abusive behavior.  Parents and caregivers are often the perpetrators of child abuse, and strong action needs to be taken to ensure that these adults are not harming the children they are responsible for. 

If you suspect a child in your family is being victimized, it is essential to understand the definition of child abuse in Arizona so you can take action. You may be able to secure a protective order; have the abuser arrested; or ensure that you get sole custody and the abuser is not entitled to visits in which he or she could harm your children.

The Phoenix, AZ family law firm of Singer Pistiner, PC has helped many families and parents coping with problems of child abuse. Call today t 602-264-0440 to schedule a consultation and learn about your options.

The Definition of Child Abuse in Arizona

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) is a federal law applicable in Arizona that defines child abuse.  Many of the behaviors that are prohibited under CAPTA are also illegal under state law in Arizona.

The different type of abuse that CAPTA addresses include:

  • Physical abuse: Acts or failures on the part of parents or caregivers that results in serious physical or emotional harm; that results in death; or that facilitate sexual abuse or exploitation.  Physical abuse also includes situations where a caregiver fails to act, creating an imminent risk of harm to a child.
  • Sexual abuse: Using coercion, persuasion, inducement or other tactics to engage in or assist someone in engaging in sexual behavior with a child. This includes any rape; statutory rape, molestation, incest and any type of sexual exploitation of children. Sexual abuse may be committed without touching a child, such as in cases of exhibitionism or exposing a child to sexually explicit material.
  • Neglect: Physical, educational, medical or emotional neglect such as not enrolling a child in school; inadequately supervising a child; withholding affection or withholding medical care.
  • Fetal abuse: The use of drugs, alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy, which can cause harm to a developing infant.

In general, any action or failure to act that causes some type of harm to a child can be considered child abuse. Allegations of child abuse are very serious and can result in the Department of Child Safety becoming involved and potentially removing a child from the home.

If you believe that child abuse may be occurring, it is important to take action. This is true even if, or especially if, the abuser is your romantic partner or the child’s other parent. You may be able to seek a restraining order, have the abusive parent removed from the home, or secure full custody of your children if abuse is occurring.

Singer Pistiner, P.C. is an experienced Phoenix, AZ family law firm that can help you understand the definition of child abuse in Arizona and that can assist in taking appropriate legal actions. Call today to learn more about how an attorney can assist you in protecting the children in your life.

To learn more, please download our free The Child Abuse in Arizona here.