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Legal Definition of Abuse
AZ Legal Definitions of Abuse:
Physical Abuse
Physical abuse and non-accidental injury are terms used interchangeably. You will find that there are many definitions of abuse within the culture and value system of the community in which it occurs. The term "physical abuse" implies that the child victim is physically injured by the actions, whether or not intentional, of the caretaker.

ARS 8-801(2) "Abuse" means the infliction or allowing of physical injury, impairment of bodily function or disfigurement or the infliction of or allowing another person to cause serious emotional damage as evidenced by severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal or untoward aggressive behavior and which emotional damage is diagnosed by a medical doctor or psychologist pursuant to section 8-223 and which is caused by the acts or omissions of an individual having care, custody and control of a child. Abuse shall include inflicting or allowing sexual abuse pursuant to section 13-1404, sexual conduct with a minor pursuant to section 13-1405, sexual assault pursuant to section 13-1406, molestation of a child pursuant to section 13-1410.
Citation: Rev. Stat. 8-201
Neglect or neglected means the inability or unwillingness of a parent, guardian, or custodian of a child to provide that child with supervision, food, clothing, shelter, or medical care if that inability or unwillingness causes substantial risk of harm to the child's health or welfare.
Citation: Rev. Stat. 8-201
The failure of the parent to provide reasonable support and to maintain regular contact with the child, including providing normal supervision. That a parent has made only minimal efforts to support and communicate with the child. Failure to maintain a normal parental relationship with the child without just cause for a period of 6 months shall constitute prima facie evidence of abandonment.
Sexual Abuse
National Center for Child Abuse and Child Neglect (NCCAN) defined sexual abuse as the involvement of dependent, developmentally immature children and adolescents in sexual activities that they do not fully comprehend, to which they are unable to give informed consent, or that violate the social taboos of family roles. (The Battered Child, 3rd Ed., Kempe, C. Henry and Helfer, Ray E.) Sexual Abuse is any act designed to stimulate a child sexually, or to use a child for the sexual stimulation either of the perpetrator or of another person. (NCCAN). Sexual Misuse is defined as exposure of a child to sexual stimulation inappropriate for the child's age and role in the family.

Sexual Abuse - ARS 13-1404 - A person commits sexual abuse by intention ally or knowingly engaging in sexual contact with any person fifteen or more years of age without consent of that person or with any person who is under fifteen years of age if the sexual contact involves only the female breast.

Other Forms of Sexual Abuse
  • Sexual Conduct with a Minor - ARS 13-1405
  • Sexual Assault - ARS 13-1406
  • Molestation of a Child - ARS 13-1410
  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation of a Minor - ARS 13-3552
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Minor - ARS 13-3553
  • Incest - ARS 13-3608
  • Child Prostitution - ARS 13-3212
Emotional Abuse
Citation: Rev. Stat. 8-201
Abuse means the infliction of or allowing another person to cause serious emotional damage to the child, as evidenced by severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or untoward aggressive behavior, and such emotional damage is diagnosed by a medical doctor or psychologist, and the damage has been caused by the acts or omissions of an individual having care, custody, and control of a child.
Emotional maltreatment
includes blaming, belittling or rejecting a child, constantly treating siblings unequally, and persistent lack of concern by the caretaker for the child's welfare. Emotional maltreatment is rarely manifest in physical signs, particularly in the normal school setting; speech disorders, lags in physical development, and failure to thrive syndrome are physical indicators of emotional maltreatment. More often it is observed through behavioral indicators, and even these indicators may not be immediately apparent.

While emotional maltreatment does occur alone, it often accompanies physical abuse and sometimes sexual abuse.
Non Sexual Exploitation
There is not a legal definition for exploitation; however, it is defined for CPS purposes to mean "the use of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian for material gain which may include forcing the child to panhandle, steal or perform other illegal activities."
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