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Child Abuse Laws in Missouri: These are Child Abuse Laws for the State of Missouri

Findings of a recent survey have proven that more than 3 million cases of child abuses are reported every year in the U.S.A. Child abuse can be in the form of physical, mental, emotional or sexual. In the U.S.A., every state has its laws to protect children from child abuse. Child abuse can be described as when a parent or a caregiver causes injury, emotional harm or even death to a child. Child abuse can be in different forms which include child neglect, maltreatment, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse.

Child abuse is held as a serious threat in the state of Missouri. In Missouri, child abuse is defined as an intentional mental or physical injury by parents or caregivers which may include neglect, deprivation, sexual abuse, harmful disciplinary techniques, abandonment, or using children for sex. Parents residing in this state are free to use corporal punishment to discipline their children, but it should not include potentially harmful methods such as using weapons, hitting the child with closed fists or kicking.

Missouri Child Abuse Laws

Mandated reporting on Child Abuse in Missouri

A mandated reporter is a person who has frequent access to children whose duty is to report credible cases of child abuse to the state. Every state has assigned mandated reporters who generally include teachers, social workers, police and medical professionals who are required to report cases of child abuse. Missouri too has its assigned share of mandated reporters who are assigned their duty and failure of fulfilling their duty is charged as a misdemeanor. If a person wants to report an instance of child abuse or neglect, he or she has to contact the Missouri Department of Social Services. The number is 1-800-392-3738.

Child abuse laws in Missouri

There are laws for different forms of child abuse in Missouri. They are as follows:

Neglect- taken as the most common form of child maltreatment, neglect occurs when the parent or caregiver:

  • Fails to provide food, clothing, and shelter
  • Fails to provide adequate education, medical or mental health
  • Fails to protect the child from harm or a situation that might endanger the child
  • Fails to initiate education as required by the state law
  • Cause emotional harm to a child
  • Fails to determine continual physical or sexual abuse of the child

Failure to go by these laws result in serious consequences, and penalties depend on the level of harm committed.

Missouri Child Abuse Law
Physical abuse
Physical abuse is defined as an infliction of physical injury on a child by the child’s parents or caregivers, or when they threaten the child to do substantial harm.

Mental injury
Mental injury is defined when a parent or caregiver inflicts harm that can affect the mental health of a child to the extent that it can impair the normal mental functioning of the child.

Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse is a case when the child is a victim of a criminal sexual act or is threatened in the act committed by a person who is responsible for the care of the child, a person who has a relationship with the child or simply a person who has authority.

Penalties for child abuse in Missouri
The following penalties are required to serve by the convicts of child abuse in Missouri.

If the convict abuses the child and causes a serious emotional or physical injury, it will be deemed as Class C felony where the abuser can get up to 7 years of imprisonment and the minimum year of imprisonment is one year.

If the abuse results in the death of the child it will be classified as a Class B felony and may result in between 5 to 15 years in prison.

Class A felony results between 10 years to life imprisonment.

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