Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect - Virgin Islands

Date:

Physical Abuse

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2502

'Abuse' means any physical injury inflicted on a child, other than by accidental means, by those responsible for the care and maintenance of the child, which causes or creates substantial risk of death, serious or protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of physical health, or loss or protracted impairment of the function of any bodily organ.

'Imminent danger to that child's life or health' means danger that involves any of the following:

  • Substantial physical pain
  • Serious bodily injury resulting in physical disfigurement
  • Substantial impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ
  • Injury that may result in death

Neglect

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2502

'Neglect' means the failure of those responsible for the care and maintenance of the child to provide the necessary support, maintenance, education, and medical or behavioral health care, to the extent that the child's health or welfare is harmed or threatened thereby.

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2502

The term 'abuse' includes the sexual abuse of a child, as defined by law, or the sexual exploitation of a child, including the prostituting of a child, and the photographing or other depiction of a child for pornographic purposes or a persistent course of sexual conduct that causes a child's health or welfare to be harmed or threatened.

'Imminent danger to that child's life or health' means danger that involves actual or attempted sexual abuse.

Emotional Abuse

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2502

The term 'abuse' includes any mental injury inflicted on a child that causes or creates substantial risk of impairment of emotional health.

'Imminent danger to that child's life or health' means danger that involves substantial impairment of the intellectual, psychological, or emotional capacity of a child caused by inhumane acts or conduct.

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2502

'Abandoned child' means a child whose parents, guardian, or custodian desert them for such a length of time and under such circumstances as to show an intent to evade the duty of rearing them or a reckless disregard for their needs.

It shall be a rebuttable presumption that the parent intends to abandon the child who has been left without any provision for their support or without communication from such parent for a period of 6 months. If, in the opinion of the court, the evidence indicates that the parent has made only minimal efforts to support or communicate with the child, the court may declare the child to be abandoned.

Abandonment is a form of neglect.

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2533

A report is required when a mandatory reporter has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect or observes the child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect.

Persons Responsible for the Child

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2502

'Person responsible for a child's care' includes the following:

  • The child's parent, guardian, or custodian
  • A person or agency responsible for the child's welfare or care, whether the child is in their own home, shelter care, a detention home, a relative's home, a foster home, or a residential institution

Exceptions

No exceptions are specified in statute.