Under Alabama law, it is "harm or threatened harm to a child's health or welfare which can occur through non-accidental physical or mental injury; sexual abuse or attempted sexual abuse; sexual exploitation or attempted sexual exploitation."
There are four types of child abuse; physical, sexual, emotional and neglect.
Child abuse can be a single incident, or a number of different incidents that take place over time.
Under the Child Protection Act 1999, it does not matter how much a child is harmed, but whether a child has suffered harm, is suffering harm, or is at risk of suffering harm does not have a parent able and willing to protect them from harm.
Harm is defined as any detrimental effect of a significant nature on the child's physical, psychological or emotional well being (Section 9 of the Child Protection Act 1999). For harm to be significant, the detrimental effect on a child's well being must be substantial or serious, more than transitory and must be demonstrable in the child's presentation, functioning or behavior.
Child neglect is "negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child, including the failure to provide adequate food, medical treatment, clothing, or shelter: provided, however, that a parent or guardian legitimately practicing his religious beliefs who thereby does not provide specified medical treatment for a child, for that reason alone shall not be considered a negligent parent or guardian; however, such an exception shall not preclude a court from ordering that medical services be provided to the child, where his health requires it." (Definition according to Alabama law.)
If you need help
Visit ONE PLACE Family Justice Center at 530 S. Lawrence Street, Montgomery, Alabama or call 334.262.7378 or if you are in immediate danger Call 911.