Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect - Virginia

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Physical Abuse

Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-100

'Abused or neglected child' means any child younger than age 18 whose parents or other person responsible for their care creates or inflicts, threatens to create or inflict, or allows to be created or inflicted upon the child a physical or mental injury by other than accidental means or creates a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or impairment of bodily or mental functions, including, but not limited to, a child who is with their parent or other person responsible for their care either (i) during the manufacture or attempted manufacture of a Schedule I or II controlled substance or (ii) during the unlawful sale of such substance by that child's parents or other person responsible for their care, when such manufacture, or attempted manufacture, or unlawful sale would constitute a felony violation.

Neglect

Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-100

Abused or neglected child' means any child younger than age 18 to whom any of the following apply:

  • Whose parents or other person responsible for their care neglects or refuses to provide care necessary for their health
  • Who is without parental care or guardianship caused by the unreasonable absence or the mental or physical incapacity of the child's parent, guardian, legal custodian, or other person standing in loco parentis
  • Whose parents or other person responsible for their care creates a substantial risk of physical or mental injury by knowingly leaving the child alone in the same dwelling, including an apartment, with a person to whom the child is not related by blood or marriage and who the parent or other person responsible for their care knows has been convicted of an offense against a minor for which registration is required as a violent sexual offender

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-100

The term 'abused or neglected child' includes any child younger than age 18 whose parents or other person responsible for their care, or an intimate partner of such parent or person, commits or allows to be committed any act of sexual exploitation or any sexual act upon a child in violation of the law.

Emotional Abuse

Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-100

The term 'abused or neglected child' includes any child younger than age 18 whose parents or other person responsible for their care creates or inflicts, threatens to create or inflict, or allows to be created or inflicted upon the child a mental injury or creates a substantial risk of impairment of mental functions.

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-100

The term 'abused or neglected child' includes any child younger than age 18 whose parents or other person responsible for their care abandons the child.

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-1509

A report is required when a mandatory reporter, in their professional or official capacity, has reason to suspect that a child is an abused or neglected child.

Persons Responsible for the Child

Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-100

Responsible persons include the child's parents or another person responsible for the care of the child.

Exceptions

Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-100

No child who in good faith is under treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer, in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination, shall, for that reason alone, be considered an abused or neglected child. Further, a decision by parents who have legal authority for the child or, in the absence of parents with legal authority for the child, any person with legal authority for the child who refuses a particular medical treatment for a child with a life-threatening condition shall not be deemed a refusal to provide necessary care if the following apply:

  • The decision is made jointly by the parents, or other person with legal authority, and the child.
  • The child has reached age 14 and is sufficiently mature to have an informed opinion on the subject of their medical treatment.
  • The parents, or other person with legal authority, and the child have considered alternative treatment options.
  • The parents, or other person with legal authority, and the child believe in good faith that such decision is in the child's best interests.