Child abuse is defined by law (Title 10A, Section 1-1-105) as harm, threatened harm, or failure to protect from harm or threatened harm, to the health, safety, or welfare of a child by a person responsible for the child’s health, safety, or welfare, including, but not limited to, nonaccidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation.
Harm or threatened harm to the health or safety of a child means any real or threatened physical, mental, or emotional injury or damage to the body or mind that is not accidental, including, but not limited to, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, neglect, or dependency.
Heinous and shocking abuse includes, but is not limited to, aggravated physical abuse that results in serious bodily, mental, or emotional injury. Serious bodily injury means injury that involves:
- A substantial risk of death
- Extreme physical pain
- Protracted disfigurement
- A loss or impairment of the function of a body member, organ, or mental faculty
- An injury to an internal or external organ or the body
- A bone fracture
- Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation
- Chronic abuse, including, but not limited to, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation that is repeated or continuing
- Torture, including, but not limited to, inflicting, participating in, or assisting in inflicting, intense physical or emotional pain upon a child repeatedly over a period of time for the purpose of coercing or terrorizing a child for the purpose of satisfying the craven, cruel, or prurient desires of the perpetrator or another person
- Any other similar aggravated circumstance
Abused children need your help.
Abused children are innocent victims who need your help. View the typical signs and causes of abuse. Then learn how to respond to a child’s disclosure of abuse.
Help is available
The Department of Human Services – Child Welfare Division (DHS) and other state and community agencies provide a number of services and programs to help children and their families prevent and reduce the incidents and effects of child abuse and neglect.
If abuse is reported, the Child Abuse Network brings together medical, mental health, investigative and legal professionals from multiple agencies to try to determine whether child abuse has occurred.
State law requires EVERY PERSON to report suspicion of abuse to the Department of Human Services.
- Oklahoma hotline – (800) 522-3511
- National hotline – (800) 4ACHILD [(800) 422-4453]