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Ohio Child Abuse Laws

A heavily underreported crime, "child abuse" refers to the physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of minors. Importantly, exploitation and neglect of minors also constitute child abuse. As in other states, Ohio child abuse laws also require nurses, teachers, and others with regular access to children to report any signs of abuse (called "mandatory reporters"). Under Ohio law, all reports of suspected child abuse must be reported to the Public Children's Services Agency or the local police.

Details of Ohio's child abuse laws are listed below. See Child Abuse Overview for a concise summary of the issue.

Code Section

2151.011, et seq.; 2921.14; 2151.421

What Constitutes Abuse

Victim of sexual activity offense constituting abuse or exhibits evidence of physical or mental injury inflicted other than by accidental means, or threats or harm to child's health and welfare, or is an endangered child under 2919.22

Mandatory Reporting Required By

Attorney, physician, nurse, other health care professional, dentist, coroner, day care worker, school teacher/employer, social worker, professional counselor, speech pathologist, child services agency employee, person rendering spiritual treatment through prayer, psychologist, day camp employee

Basis of Report of Abuse/neglect

Knows or suspects child has suffered or faces threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect

To Whom Reported

The Public Children's Services Agency or municipal or county peace officer in county where child resides

Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting

Guilty of making a false report: misdemeanor of the first degree

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

More Information

Click on the links provided below to access additional resources with information on Ohio’s child abuse laws. You can also find more general information by browsing FindLaw’s child abuse section, which discusses topics such as: how child abuse cases work, how to report a suspicion of child abuse, how to avoid making false child abuse allegations, and mandatory reporting laws. Finally, depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be in your best interests to consult with either a family law or criminal defense attorney.

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