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Indiana Child Abuse Laws

Child abuse laws make it illegal to physically, emotionally, or sexually abuse minors. Child abuse laws are intended to balance the protection of children from serious harm with a parent's interest in raising and disciplining their children as they see fit. In Indiana, it's considered child abuse if a child's mental or physical condition is seriously endangered or impaired:

  • As a result of the refusal, inability, or neglect of the child's parent/guardian/custodian to provide the child with basic necessities; or
  • Due to injury by the act or omission of the child's parent/guardian/custodian.

It's also child abuse if the child's parent/guardian/custodian allows the child to take part in prostitution or other indecent acts, or if the parent/guardian/custodian allows the child to participate in an obscene performance.

Mandatory Reporting Requirements in Indiana

Many states have laws that designate certain people as mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse or neglect. Usually mandatory reporters are those with access to children, such as teachers and medical professionals. However, in Indiana, any individual who suspects that a child is being abused or neglected has a duty to report. Suspected child abuse or neglect can be reported to the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-800-5556. Failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect is a class B misdemeanor.

If you suspect someone of abusing a child, you can contact child abuse resources in your state. You can also visit FindLaw's Where to Get Help for Child Abuse section for more information on how to protect children.

Indiana Child Abuse Laws at a Glance

Reading the actual language of the law is an important step in the legal research process. But, it can be equally important to read a summary of the law because it can help you better understand the legal language that laws are usually written in. The following table touches on the basics of Indiana child abuse laws and provides links to relevant statutes.


Indiana Code, Title 35, Article 46, Chapter 1:

Neglect of a Dependent

Neglect of a dependent is generally a Level 6 felony* that occurs when a person who has the care of a dependent - whether voluntarily or due to a legal obligation - knowingly or intentionally:

  • Puts the dependent in a situation that endangers their health or life;
  • Abandons or cruelly confines the dependent; or
  • Deprives the dependent of an education as required by law.

*There are a variety of circumstances that elevate this offense to a higher felony. Please see the statute for more details on how this crime is charged.

Nonsupport of a Dependent Child

Nonsupport of a dependent child is a Level 6 felony* that occurs when a person knowingly or intentionally fails to provide support to their dependent child.

*If the offender has a previous conviction under this statute, it's elevated to a Level 5 felony.


A Level 6 felony is punishable by imprisonment for six months to two and a half years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Related Statute(s)

Indiana Code, Title 35, Article 46, Chapter 1:

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.

Indiana Child Abuse Laws: Related Resources

Accused of Child Abuse in Indiana? Get in Touch with an Attorney

The physical, emotional, and psychological effects of child abuse can be devastating. Therefore, it's best to report possible child abuse cases to the authorities as soon as possible. If you've been accused of child abuse in Indiana, you have the right to defend yourself. The best way to do this is to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney in Indiana today.

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