Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect - Northern Mariana Islands

Date:

Physical Abuse

Citation: Commonwealth Code Tit. 6, § 5312

A person commits the offense of child abuse if the person willfully and intentionally strikes, beats, or by any other act or omission inflicts physical pain, injury, or mental distress upon a child younger than age 18 who is in the person's custody or over whom the person occupies a position of authority, when such pain or injury is clearly beyond the scope of reasonable corporal punishment, with the result that the child's physical or mental health and well-being are harmed or threatened.

Neglect

Citation: Commonwealth Code Tit. 6, § 5312

A person commits the offense of child abuse if the person through willful or negligent act or omission fails to provide a child younger than age 18 who is in the person's custody or over whom the person occupies a position of authority with adequate supervision, medical care, food, clothing, or shelter, with the result that the child's physical or mental health and well-being are harmed or threatened.

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

Citation: Commonwealth Code Tit. 6, §§ 1314; 5312

A person commits the offense of child abuse if the person commits any act that would constitute a criminal offense under title 6, §§ 1306 through 1311 (including sexual abuse of a minor and incest) against a child younger than age 18 who is in the person's custody or over whom the person occupies a position of authority.

A person commits the crime of unlawful exploitation of a minor if, with the intent of producing a live performance, film, audio, video, electronic, or electromagnetic recording, photograph, negative, slide, book, newspaper, magazine, or other material that visually or aurally depicts the conduct listed below, the person knowingly induces or employs a child younger than age 18 to engage in, or photographs, films, records, or televises a child younger than age 18 engaged in, the following actual or simulated conduct:

  • Sexual penetration
  • The lewd touching of another person's genitals, anus, or breast
  • The lewd touching by another person of the child's genitals, anus, or breast
  • Masturbation
  • Bestiality
  • The lewd exhibition of the child's genitals
  • Sexual masochism or sadism

A parent, legal guardian, or person having custody or control of a child younger than age 18 commits the crime of unlawful exploitation of a minor if the person permits the child to engage in conduct described above knowing that the conduct is intended to be used in producing a live performance, film, audio, video, electronic, or electromagnetic recording, photograph, negative, slide, book, newspaper, magazine, or other material that visually or aurally depicts the conduct.

Emotional Abuse

Citation: Commonwealth Code Tit. 6, § 5312

'Mental distress' means an effect on the intellectual or psychological capacity of a child as evidenced by observable and substantial impairment of their ability to function within normal ranges of performance and behavior, with due regard to their culture.

Abandonment

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Commonwealth Code Tit. 6, § 5313

A report is required when a mandatory reporter comes into contact in a professional capacity with a child who the person knows or has reasonable cause to suspect is, or will become, a victim of child abuse.

Persons Responsible for the Child

Citation: Commonwealth Code Tit. 6, §§ 1314; 5312

'Position of authority' means an employer, youth leader, scout leader, coach, teacher, counselor, school administrator, religious leader, doctor, nurse, psychologist, guardian ad litem, babysitter, or a substantially similar position and a police officer or probation officer other than when the officer is exercising custodial control over a minor.

'In the person's custody' means in the custody of the child's parent (including natural parents, stepparents, and adopted parents), legal guardian, foster parent, an employee of a public or private residential home or facility, or any other person over age 18 responsible for the child's welfare in a residential setting.

Exceptions

Citation: Commonwealth Code Tit. 6, § 5312

Child abuse does not include the exercise of reasonable and traditional parental discipline, which may be determined in reference to prevailing community and cultural standards.