What Is Abuse?


Neglect usually involves the failure of the child's caregiver to:

  • Supply the child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical or mental health care, or appropriate supervision
  • Protect the child from conditions or actions that endanger the child
  • Take steps to ensure that a child is educated according to the law

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is any physical injury or threat of harm or substantial injury, inflicted by a caregiver upon a child other than by accidental means. The impact of physical abuse can range from minor bruises to severe internal injuries and death. Physical abuse does not include reasonable and moderate physical discipline of a child that does not result in an injury.

Mental Injury

Mental injury is harm to the child's psychological capacity or emotional stability evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment of the child's functioning.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is the subjection of a child to a criminal sexual act or threatened act by a person responsible for the child's care or by a person who has a significant relationship to the child or is in a position of authority. The definition of sexual abuse now includes any youth who is being sexually exploited or trafficked, regardless of the relationship with the alleged offender.

Additional Information

For additional information, Minnesota Statutes 626.556, the Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors Act, provides detailed definitions of child maltreatment.