Definitions of Abuse and Neglect

(Abuse and Neglect Act (32A-4-2, NMSA, 1978))

It is important for every person to take child abuse and neglect seriously and to be able to recognize when it happens. Abuse and neglect may be physical, sexual or emotional.

Physical abuse includes:

  1. Cases in which a child exhibits evidence of a skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, failure to thrive, burns, fracture of a bone, subdural hematoma, tissue swelling or death, AND
  2. There is not a justifiable explanation for the condition or death.

Sexual abuse includes:

  1. Criminal sexual contact
  2. Incest or criminal sexual penetration
  3. Sexual exploitation (acts such as allowing, permitting or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution or obscene or pornographic photographing, or filming a child for obscene or pornographic commercial purposes)

Neglect includes:

  1. The abandonment of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian.
  2. The failure of a parent, guardian or custodian to provide a child with proper parental care and control or subsistence, education, medical or other care or control necessary for the child’s well-being.
  3. When a child is physically or sexually abused and the child’s parent, guardian or custodian knew or should have known of the abuse and failed to take reasonable steps to protect the child from further harm.
  4. Parental inability to discharge their responsibilities to and for the child because of parental incarceration, hospitalization, or physical or mental disorder or incapacity.