Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect - Ohio

Date:

Physical Abuse

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 2151.031; 2919.22

'Abused child' includes any child to whom any of the following apply:

  • Is endangered, as defined § 2919.22
  • Exhibits evidence of any physical or mental injury or death, inflicted by other than accidental means, that is inconsistent with the history given of it
  • Suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child's health or welfare because of the acts of their parent, guardian, or custodian
  • Is subjected to out-of-home-care child abuse

'Endangering children' includes any of the following acts committed against a child under age 18 or a mentally or physically handicapped child under age 21:

  • Abuse, torture, or cruel abuse
  • Corporal punishment, other physical disciplinary measure, or physical restraint in a cruel manner or for a prolonged period that creates a substantial risk of serious physical harm to the child
  • Repeated and unwarranted disciplinary measures that, if continued, create a substantial risk of serious impairment of the child's mental health or development
  • Allowing the child to be on the same parcel of real property and within 100 feet of, or, in the case of more than one housing unit on the same parcel of real property, in the same housing unit and within 100 feet of, the illegal manufacture of drugs, cultivation of marijuana, or possession of chemicals for the illegal manufacture when the person knows that the act is occurring, whether or not any person is prosecuted for or convicted of the violation

Neglect

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 2151.03(A)

'Neglected child' includes any child to whom any of the following apply:

  • Who lacks proper parental care because of the faults or habits of the child's parents, guardian, or custodian
  • Whose parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide proper or necessary subsistence, education, medical or surgical care or treatment, or other care necessary for the child's health, morals, or well-being
  • Whose parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide the special care made necessary by the child's mental condition
  • Whose parents, legal guardian, or custodian have placed or attempted to place the child in violation of statutes regarding the placement and adoption of children
  • Who, because of the omission of the child's parents, guardian, or custodian, suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child's health or welfare
  • Who is subjected to child neglect while in out-of-home care

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 2151.031; 2907.01; 2919.22

The term 'abused child' includes a child who is the victim of sexual activity when such activity would constitute an offense, except that the court need not find that any person has been convicted of the offense in order to find that the child is an abused child. Sexual activity means sexual conduct or sexual contact or both.

'Sexual conduct' means vaginal intercourse between a male and female; anal intercourse, fellatio, and cunnilingus between persons regardless of sex; and, without privilege to do so, the insertion, however slight, of any part of the body of any instrument, apparatus, or other object into the vaginal or anal opening of another. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete vaginal or anal intercourse.

'Sexual contact' means any touching of an erogenous zone of another, including, without limitation, the thigh, genitals, buttocks, pubic region, and, if the person is a female, a breast, for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying either person.

A person commits the crime of 'endangering children' when the person does any of the following to a child: entice, coerce, permit, encourage, compel, hire, employ, use, or allow the child to act, model, or in any other way participate in, or be photographed for, the production, presentation, dissemination, or advertisement of any material or performance that the offender knows or reasonably should know is obscene, sexually oriented, or nudity-oriented matter.

Emotional Abuse

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 2151.011

'Mental injury' means any behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorder in a child caused by an act or omission that is described in § 2919.22 and is committed by a parent or other person who is responsible for the child's care.

Abandonment

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 2151.03(A); 2151.011

The term 'neglected child' includes a child who is abandoned by their parents, guardian, or custodian.

A child shall be presumed abandoned when their parents have failed to visit or maintain contact with them for more than 90 days, regardless of whether the parents resume contact with the child after that period of 90 days.

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 2151.421

A report is required when a mandatory reporter acting in an official or professional capacity knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to suspect, that a child younger than age 18 or a person younger than age 21 with a developmental disability or physical impairment has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the child.

Persons Responsible for the Child

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 2151.03(A); 2151.011

Responsible persons include the following:

  • The child's parents, guardian, or custodian
  • Other persons responsible for the child's care

Exceptions

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 2151.03(B); 2151.031; 2919.22

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as subjecting a parent to criminal liability when, solely in the practice of religious beliefs, the parent fails to provide adequate medical or surgical care or treatment for the child. This section does not do any of the following:

  • Eliminate or limit any person's responsibility to report child abuse or neglect that is known or reasonably suspected or believed to have occurred and to report children who are known to face or are reasonably suspected or believed to be facing a threat of suffering abuse or neglect
  • Preclude any exercise of the authority of the State, any political subdivision, or any court to ensure that medical or surgical care or treatment is provided to a child when the child's health requires it

A child exhibiting evidence of corporal punishment or other physical disciplinary measure by a parent is not an abused child if the measure is not prohibited under § 2919.22 (that prohibits cruel or excessive means of discipline).