child abuse | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction / Policing

Child abuse is the physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual mistreatment of a child.

From the perspective of the criminal justice system, child abuse is a serious criminal offense that involves the physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual mistreatment of a child. This type of abuse is a violation of the law and is considered to be one of the most heinous crimes that can be committed against a child.

When child abuse is reported, law enforcement officials are responsible for investigating the allegations and ensuring that the perpetrator is held accountable for their actions. This typically involves collecting evidence, conducting interviews, and building a case against the perpetrator.

If the perpetrator is arrested and charged with child abuse, they will be subject to the criminal justice system. This may involve a trial, where the prosecutor presents evidence of the abuse, and the defense has an opportunity to present its case. If the perpetrator is found guilty, they may face significant penalties, including imprisonment, fines, and other sanctions.

The criminal justice system also plays an important role in preventing abuse from occurring in the first place. This includes enforcing laws that protect children from abuse and neglect, as well as providing support services for families in need. Law enforcement officials work closely with child welfare agencies to ensure that children who have been abused are removed from dangerous situations and placed in safe and supportive environments.

It is also important to note that the criminal justice system recognizes the importance of rehabilitation and treatment for perpetrators. Many offenders who are convicted of child abuse are required to undergo counseling and treatment to address the underlying issues that led to their abusive behavior. This can help to prevent future instances of abuse and provide support for the victim and their family.


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Last Modified: 04/11/2023

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