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Illinois Child Abuse Laws

Child abuse is of course illegal in the state of Illinois. Specifically, child abuse is the mistreatment of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caretaker, someone living in their home or someone who works with or around children.

The mistreatment must cause injury or put the child at risk of physical injury. Child abuse can be physical (such as burns or broken bones), sexual (such as fondling or incest), or emotional. Neglect happens when a parent or responsible caretaker fails to provide adequate supervision, food, clothing, shelter or other basics for a child.

Mandatory Reporting Requirements

Each state differs in how they regulate mandatory reporting requirements for child abuse. These requirements hold third parties in close proximity to children (such as teachers, coaches, and clergy) liable for reporting any credible signs of abuse to authorities. Illinois child abuse law, for example, names substance abuse counselors and Christian Science practitioners among its rather long list of mandatory reporters.

The main provisions of Illinois child abuse laws, including mandatory reporting requirements, are listed in the table below. See FindLaw's Child Abuse Resources section for comprehensive coverage and resources.

Code Section 325 ILCS 5/1, et seq.
What Constitutes Abuse Inflicting or causing, allowing, or creating a substantial risk of physical injury, other than by accident, that causes death, disfigurement, impairment of physical or emotional health, or loss or impairment of any bodily function; committing or allowing to be committed any sex offense; torture, excessive corporal punishment, female genital mutilation; giving child access to controlled substances
Mandatory Reporting Required By Physician, dentist, medical/hospital personnel, substance abuse counselor, Christian Science practitioner, coroner, funeral home employee, EMT, crisis/hotline personnel, school personnel, social worker, nurse, day care center worker, psychologist, law enforcement officer, domestic violence program personnel, foster parent, homemaker, child care worker, probation officer, public and private agency personnel
Basis of Report of Abuse/neglect Reasonable cause to believe a child may be abused or neglected
To Whom Reported Department of Children and Family Services
Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting Class A misdemeanor; if physician, referred to state medical disciplinary board; if dentist, referred to Dept. of Professional Regulation; false report is offense of disorderly conduct; second offense is Class 4 felony

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact an Illinois criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Illinois Child Abuse Laws: Related Resources

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