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Georgia Child Abuse Laws

Note: If you or someone you know is the victim of child abuse, contact the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) Child Protective Center at 1-855-GACHILD (422-4453).

Child abuse, which also includes neglect, sexual abuse, and exploitation, is considered a very serious crime in all states. Georgia child abuse laws also require adults with regular access to children (such as teachers and doctors) to report any credible signs of abuse. These include teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, and police officers. Failure to comply with mandatory reporting requirements is a misdemeanor in Georgia.

According to Georgia Child Protective Services, child abuse or neglect can occur in the following ways:

  • Injury to a child (under 18) by a parent/guardian/caretaker that results in internal injuries, bruises, fractures, or scarring is considered physical abuse.
  • Failure of the parent/guardian/caretaker to make sure child (under 18) is properly housed, clothed, fed, and supervised is considered neglect.
  • Use of a child (under 18) by a parent or other adult for sexual gratification is considered sexual abuse.

After reporting suspected instances of child abuse or neglect, a DFCS worker will notify the police (as required for all reports, regardless of merit). Then, DFCS will respond in person within 24 hours, removing the child if it is determined that he or she is in danger. If the abuse is the result of drug or alcohol abuse in the home, counseling, in-home aides, drug treatment, and/or child care may be offered by the state.

If any of the child's parents are active-duty members of the U.S. Military, any reports of abuse that are sent to relevant protective services will also be reported to military law enforcement agencies, if applicable.

Georgia Child Abuse Laws at a Glance

See the table below for more information about Georgia child abuse laws. To learn more, see FindLaw's Crimes Against Children and Domestic Violence Overview sections.

Code Section Georgia Code Section 19-7-5
What Constitutes Abuse Physical injury or death inflicted on a child by other than accidental means including neglect, sexual abuse/exploitation
Mandatory Reporting Required By Physicians, hospital personnel, dentists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, counselors, school teachers/officials, child welfare agency and child service organization personnel, law enforcement personnel, podiatrists
Basis of Report of Abuse/neglect Reasonable cause to believe a child has been abused
To Whom Reported Child welfare agency providing protective services as designated by Department of Human Resources (or in absence of such, to police authority or district attorney)
Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting Misdemeanor

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Georgia Child Abuse Laws: Related Resources

Get Legal Help with Your Child Abuse Case in Georgia

It's often difficult to know where to turn when you have been charged with a crime, particularly one as unsavory as child abuse. But regardless of the charges, everyone has the right to defend themselves in court. Learn more about your rights and options by contacting a local criminal defense attorney in Georgia to discuss your case.

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