Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect - New Mexico

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Physical Abuse

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-4-2

'Abused child' means a child to whom any of the following apply:

  • Who has suffered or is at risk of suffering serious harm because of the action or inaction of the child's parent, guardian, or custodian
  • Who has suffered physical abuse inflicted or caused by the child's parent, guardian, or custodian
  • Whose parent, guardian, or custodian has knowingly, intentionally, or negligently placed the child in a situation that may endanger the child's life or health
  • Whose parent, guardian, or custodian has knowingly or intentionally tortured, cruelly confined, or cruelly punished the child

'Physical abuse' includes any case in which the child exhibits evidence of skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, failure to thrive, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling, or death, and any of the following apply:

  • There is no justifiable explanation for the condition or death.
  • The explanation given for the condition is inconsistent with the degree or nature of the condition.
  • The explanation given for the death is at variance with the nature of the death.
  • Circumstances indicate that the condition or death may not be the product of an accidental occurrence.

'Great bodily harm' means an injury to a person that creates a high probability of death, that causes serious disfigurement, or that results in permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a member or organ of the body.

Neglect

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-4-2

'Neglected child' means a child to whom any of the following apply:

  • Who has been abandoned by the child's parent, guardian, or custodian
  • Who is without proper parental care and control or subsistence, education, medical, or other care or control necessary for the child's well-being because of the faults or habits of the child's parent, guardian, or custodian or that person's failure or refusal, when able to do so, to provide them
  • Who has been physically or sexually abused when the child's parent, guardian, or custodian knew or should have known of the abuse and failed to take reasonable steps to protect the child from further harm
  • Whose parent, guardian, or custodian is unable to discharge their responsibilities to and for the child because of incarceration, hospitalization, or other physical or mental disorder or incapacity
  • Who has been placed for care or adoption in violation of the law

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-4-2

The term 'abused child' includes a child who has suffered sexual abuse or sexual exploitation inflicted by the child's parent, guardian, or custodian.

'Sexual abuse' includes criminal sexual contact, incest, or criminal sexual penetration, as those acts are defined by State law.

'Sexual exploitation' includes the following:

  • Allowing, permitting, or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution
  • Allowing, permitting, encouraging, or engaging a child in obscene or pornographic photographing
  • Filming or depicting a child for obscene or pornographic commercial purposes, as those acts are defined by State law

Emotional Abuse

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-4-2

The term 'abused child' includes a child who has suffered emotional or psychological abuse inflicted or caused by the child's parent, guardian, or custodian.

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-4-2

'Abandonment' includes instances when the parent, without justifiable cause, did the following:

  • Left the child without provision for the child's identification for a period of 14 days
  • Left the child with others, including the other parent or an agency, without provision for support and without communication, for a period of 3 months if the child was younger than age 6 at the commencement of the 3-month period, or 6 months if the child was older than age 6 at the commencement of the 6-month period

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-4-3

A report is required when any person knows or has a reasonable suspicion that the child is abused or neglected.

Persons Responsible for the Child

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-4-2

Responsible persons include the child's parent, guardian, or custodian.

Exceptions

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-4-2

Nothing in the Children's Code shall be construed to imply that a child who is being provided with treatment by spiritual means alone through prayer, in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof, is, for that reason alone, a neglected child. It is further provided that no child shall be denied the protection afforded to all children under the Children's Code.