Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect - Guam

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Physical Abuse

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, § 13101

'Abused or neglected child' means a child whose physical or mental health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm by the acts or omissions of the person or persons responsible for the child's welfare.

'Harm to a child's physical health or welfare' occurs in cases in which there exists evidence of injury, including but not limited to, any of the following:

  • A case in which the child exhibits evidence of skin bruising or other internal bleeding, an injury to skin causing bleeding, burns, poisoning, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling, extreme pain, or death
  • Disfigurement or impairment of a bodily organ, and such injury is inflicted by other than accidental means, by excessive corporal punishment, or where the history given concerning such condition or death is inconsistent with the degree or type of such condition or death
  • A case in which the child is provided with a controlled substance, except for drugs prescribed by a medical practitioner

Neglect

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, § 13101

The term 'abused or neglected child' includes a child whose physical or mental health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm by the acts or omissions of the person or persons responsible for the child's welfare.

'Harm to a child's physical health or welfare' includes a case in which the physical health of the child is adversely affected because the person responsible for the child's welfare has not regularly, and in a timely manner, provided the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, psychological care, physical care, health care, or supervision when able to financially or if offered financial assistance, health care, or other reasonable means to do so.

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, § 13101

'Harm to a child's physical health or welfare' occurs in a case in which there exists evidence of injury, including, but not limited to, a case in which the child has been the victim of a sexual offense, as defined in the Criminal and Correctional Code.

Emotional Abuse

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, § 13101

The term 'abused or neglected child' includes a child whose mental health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm by the acts or omissions of the person or persons responsible for the child's welfare.

'Harm' occurs when there exists injury to the psychological capacity of a child such as failure to thrive, extreme mental distress, or gross emotional or verbal degradation, as is evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment in the child's ability to function within a normal range of performance with due regard to the child's culture.

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, § 13101

'Abandonment' means the desertion or willful forsaking of a minor by the person responsible for the child's welfare under circumstances in which a reasonable person would continue to provide care or custody.

The term 'harm' includes a case in which the child has been abandoned.

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, § 13201

A report is required when a mandatory reporter who comes into contact with children in the course of their employment, occupation, or practice of their profession has reason to suspect on the basis of their medical, professional, or other training and experience that a child is an abused or neglected child.

Persons Responsible for the Child

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, § 13101

A 'person responsible for the child's welfare' includes the following:

  • The child's parent, guardian, or foster parent
  • An employee of a public or private residential home or an institution or authorized agency responsible for the child's welfare

The term 'family' includes each legal parent, the grandparents, each parent's spouse, each sibling, or person related by consanguinity up to the second degree or by marriage, each person residing in the same dwelling unit, and any other person or legal entity that is a child's legal or physical custodian or guardian or who is otherwise responsible for the child's care.

Exceptions

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, § 13101

A person responsible for the child's welfare who, while legitimately practicing their religious beliefs, does not specify medical treatment for the child should not, for that reason alone, be considered as harming or threatening harm to the child.