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North Carolina Child Abuse Laws

Child abuse includes the physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of a minor, and also may include neglect or exploitation. Most states require adults with access to children to report any signs of child abuse; North Carolina child abuse laws require mandatory reporting by "any person or institution." The state's broad definition of child abuse includes acts that "approve of delinquent acts involving moral turpitude" in addition to the infliction of abuse or neglect.

The specifics of North Carolina child abuse laws, in addition to mandatory reporting requirements, are listed in the table, while more in-depth information follows. See Child Abuse Overview for more details about the crime.

Code Section 7B-101, et seq.
What Constitutes Abuse Inflicts or allows to be inflicted or creates a substantial risk of injury other than by accidental means or commits, permits, or encourages any type of sexual abuse or creates or allows serious emotional damage to juvenile or does not provide proper care or necessary medical care or abandons child uses inappropriate devices or procedures to modify behavior or encourages, directs, or approves of delinquent acts involving moral turpitude
Mandatory Reporting Required By Any person or institution
Basis of Report of Abuse/neglect Cause to suspect that juvenile is abused, neglected, or dependent, or has died as the result of maltreatment
To Whom Reported Director of Department of Social Services in county where juvenile resides
Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting -

Types of Abuse

Child abuse can take many different forms. North Carolina's child abuse laws are comprehensive, and try to cover all forms of abuse that a child may suffer.

Physical Abuse

North Carolina law defines physical child abuse as inflicting, or permitting to be inflicted, or creating a substantial risk of injury, other than by accident. The law does not specifically define injury, in order to prohibit as many forms of physical abuse as possible.

Behavior Modification

The child abuse law also prohibits using, or allowing to be used, cruel or grossly inappropriate procedures, or cruel or grossly inappropriate devices in order to modify a child's behavior. Some lawsuits have been brought under this section that claim that behavior modification therapy designed to prevent or "cure" a child of homosexuality is child abuse.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can come in many forms. North Carolina's child abuse law specifically mentions rape, unlawful sale, surrender, or purchase of a minor, incest, preparation of obscene photographs, disseminating obscene material to the juvenile, sexual exploitation of the juvenile, promoting prostitution, and taking "indecent liberties" with the juvenile.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse may not be as obvious as some other forms of abuse, but it is just as serious and just as illegal. North Carolina makes it a crime to create or allow to be created serious emotional damage to a juvenile. Some evidence of this type of abuse is sever anxiety, depression, withdrawal, and aggressive behavior towards him or herself or others.

Mandatory Reporting

North Carolina law makes it illegal to not report child abuse. If you have reason to suspect that a child is abused, neglected or dependent, or died as the result of maltreatment, you must report it to North Carolina's child protection agency, or the Director of the Department of Social Services in the county where the juvenile resides.

If you would like to know more about child abuse laws in North Carolina, there are many attorneys throughout the state with expertise in this area who may be able to help. Remember, North Carolina makes it a crime to not report child abuse, and speaking with one of these attorneys may be one of the first steps if you are aware of child abuse, in addition to calling North Carolina's child protective services agency.

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