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Child Abuse Definition

Child abuse is harm or threatened harm to a child (person under 18) that occurs through non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment, by a parent, a legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare, or by a teacher, a teacher’s aide, or a member of the clergy. Child abuse is a crime that, depending on the circumstances, carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail, up to life in prison. The severity of criminal charges depends on the injury sustained by a child and the alleged intent or knowledge of the person charged.

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