STATE AND LEGAL DEFINITIONS OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT

STATE AND LEGAL DEFINITIONS OF CHILD ABUSE
AND NEGLECT
Legal definitions in Section 6 of the Children’s Protection Act 1993
define the extent of abuse or neglect in which the state has authority to
intervene.
6 (1) “abuse or neglect” in relation to a child means
(a) Sexual abuse of the child; or
(b) Physical or emotional abuse of the child, or neglect of the child,
to the extent that
(i) the child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, physical or psychological
injury detrimental to the child’s wellbeing; or
(ii) the child’s physical or psychological development is in jeopardy.
HELPING A CHILD WHOM YOU SUSPECT HAS BEEN
ABUSED OR NEGLECTED
When a child tells you that she/he has been abused, she/he may be feeling
scared, guilty, ashamed, angry and powerless. You in turn, may feel a sense
of outrage, disgust, sadness, anger and sometimes, disbelief.
It is important for you to remain calm and in control, and to reassure the
child that she/he has done the right thing by telling somebody about what
is happening. Let the child know that you are willing to listen and that you
want to try to help.
It is important that you respond to the child appropriately. You should:

listen carefully
tell the child that you believe her/him
reassure the child that the abuse is not her/his fault and
tell the child that you are pleased to have been told.
When talking to the child it is important that you:

don’t make promises that you cannot keep, such as promising that you
will not tell anyone; and
never push the child into giving details of the abuse. Your role is to
listen to what she/he wants to tell you. Do not ask leading questions or
attempt to investigate what has been said. Your legal obligation is to
inform the Department for Families and Communities, Families SA of
your reasonable suspicion as soon as possible.

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