Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect - Utah

Date:

Physical Abuse

Citation: Ann. Code § 80-1-102

'Abuse' means any of the following:

  • Nonaccidental harm of a child
  • Threatened harm of a child
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Sexual abuse
  • Human trafficking of a child in violation of § 76-5-308.5
  • That a child's natural parent:
    • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes the death of another parent of the child
    • Is identified by a law enforcement agency as the primary suspect in an investigation for intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing the death of another parent of the child
    • Is being prosecuted for or has been convicted of intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing the death of another parent of the child

'Abused child' means a child who has been subjected to abuse.

'Chronic abuse' is repeated or patterned abuse. 'Chronic abuse' does not mean an isolated incident of abuse.

'Harm' means any of the following:

  • Physical or developmental injury or damage
  • Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation

'Physical abuse' means abuse that results in physical injury or damage to a child.

'Severe abuse' means abuse that causes or threatens to cause serious harm to a child.

'Severe type of child abuse or neglect' means any of the following:

  • If committed by an individual who is aged 18 or older, the following acts:
    • Chronic abuse or severe abuse
    • Sexual abuse or exploitation
    • Abandonment
    • Chronic neglect or severe neglect
  • If committed by an individual who is under age 18, any of the following:
    • Causing serious physical injury to another child that indicates a significant risk to other children
    • Sexual behavior with or upon another child that indicates a significant risk to other children

Neglect

Citation: Ann. Code § 80-1-102

'Neglect' means action or inaction causing any of the following:

  • Lack of proper parental care of a child by reason of the fault or habits of the parent, guardian, or custodian
  • Failure or refusal of a parent, guardian, or custodian to provide proper or necessary subsistence or medical care or any other care necessary for the child's health, safety, morals, or well-being
  • A child at risk of being neglected or abused because another child in the same home is neglected or abused
  • Educational neglect

'Neglected child' means a child who has been subjected to neglect.

'Severe neglect' means neglect that causes or threatens to cause serious harm to a child.

'Chronic neglect' is repeated or patterned neglect. 'Chronic neglect' does not mean an isolated incident of neglect.

'Educational neglect' means that, after receiving a notice of compulsory education violation under § 53G-6-202, the parent or guardian fails to make a good-faith effort to ensure that the child receives an appropriate education.

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

Citation: Ann. Code § 80-1-102

'Sexual abuse' means any of the following:

  • An act or attempted act of sexual intercourse, sodomy, incest, or molestation by an adult directed toward a child
  • An act or attempted act of sexual intercourse, sodomy, incest, or molestation committed by a child toward another child if any of the following apply:
    • There is an indication of force or coercion.
    • The children are related, including siblings by marriage while the marriage exists or by adoption.
    • There have been repeated incidents of sexual contact between the two children, unless the children are age 14 or older.
    • There is a disparity in chronological age of 4 or more years between the two children.
  • Engaging in any conduct with a child that would constitute an offense under any of the following terms, regardless of whether the person who engages in the conduct is actually charged with or convicted of the offense:
    • Any sexual offense
    • Child bigamy
    • Incest
    • Lewdness or sexual battery
    • Lewdness involving a child
    • Voyeurism
  • Forcing a child to participate in or threatening to force a child to participate in a sexual relationship, regardless of whether that sexual relationship is part of a legal or cultural marriage

'Sexual exploitation' means to knowingly do the following:

  • Employ, use, persuade, induce, entice, or coerce any child to do the following:
    • Pose in the nude for the purpose of sexual arousal of any individual
    • Engage in any sexual or simulated sexual conduct for the purpose of photographing, filming, recording, or displaying in any way the sexual or simulated sexual conduct
  • Display, distribute, possess for the purpose of distribution, or sell material depicting a child as follows:
    • In the nude, for the purpose of sexual arousal of any person
    • Engaging in sexual or simulated sexual conduct
  • Engage in conduct that would constitute an offense under § 76-5b-201, sexual exploitation of a minor, regardless of whether the person who engages in the conduct is actually charged with or convicted of the offense

'Incest' means engaging in sexual intercourse with an individual whom the perpetrator knows to be the perpetrator's ancestor, descendant, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, or first cousin. These relationships include any of the following:

  • Blood relationships of the whole or half blood, without regard to legitimacy
  • Relationships of parent and child by adoption
  • Relationships of stepparent and stepchild while the marriage creating the relationship of a stepparent and stepchild exists

'Molestation' means that an individual, with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any individual, touches the anus, buttocks, pubic area, or genitalia of any child or the breast of a female child or takes indecent liberties with a child, as defined in § 76-5-416.

Emotional Abuse

Citation: Ann. Code § 80-1-102

'Harm' includes emotional damage that results in a serious impairment in the child's growth, development, behavior, or psychological functioning.

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Code § 80-1-102

The term 'neglect' includes the following:

  • Abandonment of a child, except as provided in title 62A, chapter 4a, part 8, Safe Relinquishment of a Newborn Child
  • Abandonment of a child through an unregulated custody transfer

'Unregulated custody transfer' means the placement of a child with an individual who is not the child's parent, stepparent, grandparent, adult sibling, adult uncle or aunt, or legal guardian; a friend of the family who is an adult and with whom the child is familiar; or a member of the child's federally recognized Tribe with the intent of severing the child's existing parent-child or guardian-child relationship and without taking (i) reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the child and permanency of the placement and (ii) the necessary steps to transfer the legal rights and responsibilities of parenthood or guardianship to the individual taking custody of the child.

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code § 80-2-602

A report is required when a mandatory reporter has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect or observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect.

Persons Responsible for the Child

Citation: Ann. Code § 80-2-102(12)

'A person responsible for a child's care' means the child's parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child's care. The term includes a person responsible for the child's care in the same home as the child; a relative's home; a group, family, or center daycare facility; a foster care home; or a residential institution.

Exceptions

Citation: Ann. Code § 80-1-102

The term 'abuse' does not include the following:

  • Reasonable discipline or management of a child, including withholding privileges
  • The use of reasonable and necessary physical restraint or force on a child in self-defense, in defense of others, to protect the child, or to remove a weapon in the possession of a child in self-defense or defense of others

'Neglect' does not include any of the following:

  • A parent or guardian legitimately practicing religious beliefs and who, for that reason, does not provide specified medical treatment for a child
  • A health-care decision made for a child by the child's parent or guardian, unless the State or other party to a proceeding shows, by clear and convincing evidence, that the health-care decision is not reasonable and informed
  • A parent or guardian exercising the right described in § 80-3-304 (seeking a second medical opinion)
  • Permitting a child, whose basic needs are met and who is of sufficient age and maturity to avoid harm or unreasonable risk of harm, to engage in independent activities, including any of the following:
    • Traveling to and from school, including by walking, running, or bicycling
    • Traveling to and from nearby commercial or recreational facilities
    • Engaging in outdoor play
    • Remaining in a vehicle unattended, except under the conditions described in § 76-10-2202(2)
    • Remaining at home unattended
    • Engaging in a similar independent activity