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New Mexico Child Abuse Laws

We’re all concerned with the safety of children, and states have child abuse laws intended to protect children from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Along with harsh penalties for abusers, New Mexico’s child abuse statutes require certain third parties and professionals with access to children to report suspicion or knowledge of abuse to law enforcement. This is a basic overview of child abuse laws in New Mexico.

Child Abuse Statutes

State child abuse laws can vary in terms of their punishments and the reporting requirements they place on third parties. For example, New Mexico statutes state that “Every person…who knows or has a reasonable suspicion that a child is an abused or a neglected child shall report the matter.” New Mexico’s child abuse statutes are highlighted below.

Code Section

New Mexico Statutes 32A-4-1, et seq.: Child Abuse and Neglect

What Constitutes Abuse

Physical, emotional or psychological abuse including sexual abuse, exploitation, abandonment, or neglect, torture, confinement, cruel punishment

Mandatory Reporting Required By

New Mexico Statutes 32A-4-3: Duty to Report

Physician, law enforcement officer, judge, nurse, school teacher or official, social worker, clergy, or any other person suspecting abuse.

Basis of Report of Abuse/neglect

Knows or has reasonable suspicion that child is abused or neglected

To Whom Reported

New Mexico Statutes 32A-4-4: Complaints

Law enforcement agency or department office in county where child resides or tribal law enforcement or social services for Indian child

Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting

Misdemeanor (up to 1 yr. jail and/or fine up to $1000)

While we all want to prevent and punish child abuse, many people don’t realize how prevalent child abuse is in the United States: there are more than 3 million reports of child abuse every year, involving almost 6 million children. Four or five children are killed by child abuse or neglect every day. If you suspect a child is the victim of abuse or neglect, there are state child abuse resources available, and you can visit FindLaw’s Where to Get Help for Child Abuse section for more information on reporting abuse.

More Resources for New Mexico Child Abuse Laws

Child abuse can have painfully destructive physical and emotional effects. You should report child abuse cases to the authorities as soon as possible. For additional articles and resources on this topic you can visit FindLaw’s section on Child Abuse. If you would like legal assistance with a possible or existing child abuse matter, you can consult with a New Mexico criminal defense attorney.

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