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Colorado Child Abuse Laws

Last updated 12/12/2019

Child abuse laws prohibit the physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of children. In its efforts to protect children from abuse, Colorado's child abuse statutes require certain third parties and professionals with access to children (such as physicians and school employees) to report suspicion or knowledge abuse to the authorities. Colorado's Department of Human Services has statewide systems to protect the welfare of children.

Helping Victims of Child Abuse

Many of us don't realize just how prevalent child abuse is in the United States. Every year there are nearly 3 million reports of child abuse, involving almost 6 million children. And four or five children are killed by child abuse or neglect each day. You can visit FindLaw's Where to Get Help for Child Abuse section for additional information on reporting abuse. There are also state child abuse resources available if you suspect a child is the victim of abuse or neglect.

Overview of Colorado Child Abuse Laws

Each state's child abuse laws may differ. The following table outlines some of Colorado's child abuse statutes.

Code Section

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-6-401 (child abuse)

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-6-403 (sexual exploitation of a child)

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 19-3-304 (persons required to report child abuse or neglect)

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 19-3-307 (reporting procedures)

Colorado Senate Bill 49 (statute of limitations) 

What Constitutes Abuse?

Act or omission where child subject to sexual assault, molestation, exploitation, emotional abuse or prostitution; where child is in need of food, clothing, shelter, medical care or supervision because parent or guardian fails to do so; where child exhibits evidence of skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, burns, fractures, etc.; or circumstances indicate a condition that may not be the product of an accidental occurrence

Mandatory Reporting Required By

Physicians, child health associate, dentist, chiropractor, nurse, hospital personnel, school employee, social worker, mental health professional, veterinarian, peace officer, pharmacist, psychologist, fireman, victim's advocate, commercial film and photographic print processor, clergyman

Basis of Report of Abuse/Neglect

Reasonable cause to know or suspect that a child is subject to circumstances or conditions which would reasonably result in abuse or neglect

Statute of Limitations The suit for failure to report must be brought within three years after the commission of the offense. 
To Whom Reported?

Country or district department of social services or local law enforcement agency

Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting

Willful violation: Class 3 misdemeanor plus liability for proximately caused damages

Colorado Child Abuse Laws Related Resources

Child abuse can have devastating physical and emotional effects. If you think a child is being abused, you should report child abuse cases to the authorities as soon as possible. For additional resources, see the articles below:

Arrested for Child Abuse in Colorado? Get Legal Help

While protecting children is imperative, if you've been accused of committing child abuse, it's also important to remember that you're innocent unless the prosecution can prove its case against you beyond a reasonable doubt -- a very high standard. That's why if you've been charged under Colorado child abuse laws, it's important to reach out to a local criminal defense attorney who can explain your options and advocate on your behalf.

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