Child Abuse Laws in Colorado: These are the Child Abuse laws for the State of Colorado
Child abuse is defined as the maltreatment or neglect of children in either physical, psychological or sexual manner; especially by the parent or care-provider. Child abuse can also be termed as the failure or inaction taken by parents or caregivers occurring in homes, schools or other organizations where the child interacts with. Across the United States, child abuse is a prevalent phenomenon; with nearly 3 million reports of child abuse every year.
Colorado state has its laws and statutes regarding child abuse and neglect. These laws are enforced by the social service departments of counties, with assistance from law enforcement agencies if necessary. According to the Colorado Revised Statutes, the following laws are applicable for child abuse and neglect:
- Colorado Revised Statutes 18-6-401: This statute defines the criminal codes physical and emotional wrongs done to children. According to the law, child abuse is construed as an act which causes injury to a minor or an act that places a child in harm's way, with a potential threat to the physical or mental well-being of the child; including undernourishment, physical abuse, or accumulation of injuries leading to the death or serious bodily injury. The law also defines the genital mutilation of a female child, or the parent or caregiver allows or physical mutilation of the child. Besides, child abuse also encompasses the manufacture of banned narcotic substances in the presence of a child. Criminal negligence which causes the death of a child is construed as a class 2 felony; reckless behavior is giving rise to serious bodily injury to a child is interpreted as a class 3 felony; if the person knowingly causes death to the child below 12 years is construed as first-degree murder.
- Colorado Revised Statutes 18-6-402: This statute defines the criminal codes for sexual exploitation of children. According to the law, sexual exploitation consists of invasion of a child's privacy rights which results in social or emotional injury to the child; furthermore stating that a person below the age of eighteen is unable to give informed use of their bodies for sexual purposes; and the protection of minors from production of material that involves or is derived from the sexual use; and prohibit its trade and commerce. The law also states the nature of touching and stimulation the pubic or genital area of minors; displaying male or female genitalia to children for the purposes of sexual gratification; sexual excitement or intercourse with a minor; torture or physical restraint for the purposes of sexual gratification; and production of moving pictures or images of children engaged in or participating in explicit sexual conduct. The law states that sexual exploitation of a minor below the age of eighteen is a class 3 felony and possession of sexually exploited material of a child being a class 5 felony.
- Colorado Revised Statutes 19-3-307: This statute defines how child abuse can be reported to the appropriate authorities, and who is mandated by law to disclose such information to the authorities as mentioned above. According to the statute, the report of suspected child abuse must be informed to the county department, local law enforcement authorities or through the child abuse protection hot-line; with the following information being provided as and when possible:
- The name, sex, age and ethnicity of the child
- Name and address of the person suspected of child abuse
- Nature and extent of injuries if physical; and records for the same if available
- Family composition
- The source of the report, including name, occupation, and address
- Any action was taken by the reporting source
- Additional information, if available
The county department must submit a report of confirmed child abuse or negligence within sixty of the report to the state department in a prescribed format. If anyone with the following professions knows abuse or suspected abuse, a mandatory report has to be filed by the same:
- Child health associate
- Hospital personnel
- School employee
- Social worker
- Mental health professional
- Commercial film or photographic print processor