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Child Abuse Laws in Tennessee: These are Child Abuse laws for the State of Tennessee

Child abuse is defined as the maltreatment or neglect of children in a physical, psychological or sexual manner; especially by the parent, guardian or caregiver. Child abuse is also termed as the failure or inaction taken by parents, guardians or caregivers occurring in homes, schools and other organizations where the child interacts which. Across the United States, there are about 3 million cases of child abuse reported every year.

Child Abuse Legislation in Tennessee

Child abuse is defined in the Tennessee Code under Title 39, Chapter 15 Part 4. These laws are enforced by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. The following laws are applicable for child abuse and neglect in the state of Tennessee:

  • Section 39-15-401: Child Abuse, Neglect or Endangerment: Any person who knowingly inflicts serious bodily injury; abuses or neglects to cause adverse effects towards the health and welfare, including dehydration and starvation of a child under eighteen is guilty of Class A Misdemeanor. In case the same is done to a child below eight; the accused is guilty of Class D felony. If a parent or custodian of a child below the age of eight exposes a child to conditions that might inflict harm or fails to protect the child from physical abuse or neglect is guilty of Class A Misdemeanor.
Tennessee Child Abuse Laws

If the court has reasonable cause to believe that a person is guilty of child abuse, he can be brought before the court either by issuing a summons order or a warrant. Arrest warrants cannot be issued against a child's parent, caregiver, guardian or custodian based on the allegations of unreasonable corporal punishment; unless an independent medical verification proves grievous bodily harm to the child. Courts have the power to proceed on the hearing of a case of child abuse based on its merits and sentence a person; irrespective of the accused pleading guilty or not-guilty.
  • Section 39-15-402: Haley’s Law – Aggravated Child Abuse: Any person who commits aggravated child abuse, child neglect or child endangerment such as acts of abuse or endangerment; use of a weapon or dangerous instrument, controlled substance or narcotics to aid in the act of abuse; use cruelty and inflicting torture to the victim; or abuse resulting from the known exposure to the process intended for the manufacture of methamphetamine; with all violations done to anybody below the age of eighteen construed as a Class B felony and if done to someone below the age of eight, or being mentally incapacitated, suffering from physical disability or mentally defective being construed as a Class A felony.
Tennessee Child Abuse Law
  • Section 37-1-403: Mandated Reporters: According to Tennessee code, everyone residing in the state of Tennessee is a mandated reporter. All persons are required to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect; with any person with knowledge or called upon to render aid to a child suffering from or has sustained a wound, injury, disability, or mental condition is required to report such harm to law enforcement authorities, if the aforementioned harm is suspected to be caused by brutality, abuse or neglect.
  • Section 39-15-403: Tattooing of Minors: A tattoo is defined as a mark by pricking or inserting pigments into the skin to leave an indelible mark. Any person who tattoos the skin of any person below the age of eighteen for commercial purposes is guilty of Class A Misdemeanor.
  • Section 39-15-404: Enticement of Alcoholic Beverages: Any person enticing a minor to go to any place selling alcoholic beverages or beer to buy or procure said beverages in any quantity either for the use of a minor or for the use of any other person; whereby minor is defined as any person below the age of twenty-one; is construed as a Class A misdemeanor and in addition to the penalties for the said misdemeanor is also sentenced to provide one hundred hours of community work.

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