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Louisiana Child Abuse Laws

Louisiana's child abuse statutes make it illegal to physically, emotionally, or sexually abuse minors. Under Louisiana law, certain third parties and professionals with access to children (such as teachers and pediatricians) are required to report any knowledge or suspicion of abuse to the authorities. In addition, the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services coordinates statewide efforts to curb child abuse and states that one of their top goals is "working to keep children safe."

Keep in mind that child abuse laws can vary from state to state. The following table touches on the basics of Louisiana child abuse statutes.

Code Section §14:403 Criminal; Art. 609 & 603 Children's Code
What Constitutes Abuse Acts seriously endangering the physical, mental, or emotional health of child, including infliction or allowing infliction or attempted infliction of physical or mental injury; exploitation by overwork; sexual abuse or involvement in pornography
Mandatory Reporting Required By Any health practitioner, mental health/social service practitioner, teacher or child care provider, police officer or law enforcement, and commercial film and photographic print processor, and mediators, clergy
Basis of Report of Abuse/neglect Cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare is endangered as a result of abuse or neglect
To Whom Reported Local child protection unit of the Department of Social Services
Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting Knowingly and willfully fails to report or makes a false report: misdemeanor and up to $500 and/or 6 months jail

Acts that constitute child abuse are more common in the United States than most people realize: every year, there are more than 3 million reports of child abuse, involving almost 6 million children. Worse still, every day, four or five children are killed by child abuse or neglect.

A child may be experiencing physical abuse if he or she:

  • Has injuries that appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt
  • Is always watchful and “on alert,” as if waiting for something bad to happen
  • Has frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts
  • Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home

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.

Louisiana Child Abuse Laws: Related Resources

The physical, emotional, and psychological effects of child abuse can be devastating. That's why it's best to report abuse to the authorities as soon as possible. If you would like to talk to a lawyer concerning a possible or existing child abuse case, you can contact a Louisiana criminal defense attorney in your area to schedule a confidential consultation. Whatever you do, do something if you suspect child abuse is going on.

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