What is child abuse?

Before they turn 18, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused, and one in three boys and one in four girls will by physically abused. Any child can become a victim of abuse. No race, ethnicity or socioeconomic demographic is immune.

Child abuse is defined as doing or failing to do something that results in harm or risk of harm to a child. There are four types of abuse: physical, sexual, emotional and neglect. While child physical abuse may be the most visible, other types of abuse leave deep and lasting emotional scars. Early intervention is key to helping abused children heal.

  • Physical Abuse – Physical abuse is defined as physical injury that results in substantial harm to a child or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child. This could include an injury that differs from the explanation given, excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent or guardian that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm. Physical abuse also includes the failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another person that results in substantial harm to the child.
  • Sexual Abuse – Sexual abuse is sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of indecency with a child, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault; failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct harmful to a child; compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct; and causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming or depicting of the child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of the child is obscene or pornographic.
  • Neglect – Neglect means leaving a child in a situation where the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm and failing to arrange the necessary care for the child. It includes the demonstration of intent not to return by a parent or guardian of the child.
  • Emotional Abuse – Emotional abuse means inflicting mental or emotional injury to a child and/or causing or permitting the child to be in a situation in which the child sustains a mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment of the child’s growth, development or psychological functioning.

Source: Texas State Family Code, Section 261.001


If this is an emergency please call 911