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Minnesota Child Abuse Laws

Note: If you or someone you know is the victim of child abuse, contact your local child protection agency or 911.

Summary of Minnesota Child Abuse Laws

Child abuse is considered a serious crime in every state, including Minnesota. State law defines child abuse as an intentional injury (either mental or physical) including deprivation, sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment, unreasonable disciplinary methods, or solicitation of children for sex. While parents are free to use corporal punishment on their children, it may not involve kicking, striking with a closed fist, threatening a child with a weapon, or other such acts.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Minnesota's child abuse laws. See FindLaw's Child Abuse section for additional resources and articles, including Child Abuse Information by State.

Code Section 626.556
What Constitutes Abuse? Physical or mental injury inflicted on child other than by accidental means or which can't be reasonably explained; any aversive or deprivation procedures; sexual abuse, neglect-failure to protect a child from conditions which endanger the child's health; discipline which is not reasonable
Mandatory Reporting Required By Professional and professional's delegate in healing arts, social services, hospital administration, psychological treatment, child care, education, law enforcement, clergy (for information received while engaged in ministerial duties), any other person may report
Basis of Report of Abuse/Neglect Knows or has reason to believe a child is being neglected or physically or sexually abused (or has been in preceding 3 years)
To Whom Reported Local welfare agency, police department, county sheriff, or agency responsible for investigating the report
Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting Failure to report: misdemeanor; failure by parent, guardian or caretaker: gross misdemeanor if child suffers harm; if a child dies, felony and imprisonment for 2 yrs. and/or $4000 fine; knowing or reckless false report: person civilly liable for actual damages suffered and punitive damages and attorney's fees

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Minnesota criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Are You a Mandated Reporter of Child Abuse?

A mandated reporter is an adult -- typically one with regular access to children -- who is required by law to report any credible signs of child abuse to state authorities. These include social workers, psychologists, teachers, police, clergy, and others. See Minnesota's interactive training guide for mandated reporters of child abuse to learn more.

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