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South Dakota Child Abuse Laws

In South Dakota, child abuse or neglect includes physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of minors (as well as exploitation) and is taken seriously by the South Dakota criminal justice system. Speficically, child abuse and neglect occurs when a child is mistreated, resulting in injury or risk of harm.

South Dakota Mandatory Reporting Requirements

Adults with regular access to or communication with children who have reason to believe a child has been abused are required to report it to the authorities. Mandatory reporters in South Dakota include teachers, police officers, and child care workers.

How to Report Child Abuse

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, or is at risk of abuse or neglect, you should make a report to your local Department of Social Services office. If after hours or on the weekend, contact your local law enforcement.

The following chart lists the main provisions of South Dakota child abuse laws, including mandatory reporters and sentencing. See Child Abuse Background and History to learn more.

Code Section 26-8A-1, et seq.
What Constitutes Child Abuse Child who is threatened with substantial harm; sustained emotional harm or mental injury (evidenced by observable and substantial impairment of child's ability to function); subject to sexual abuse/exploitation; who lacks proper parental care; whose environment is injurious to child's welfare; who is abandoned, or who has been prenatally subjected to illegal drug or alcohol abuse, or who is knowingly exposed to an environment used to manufacture methamphetamines.
Mandatory Reporting Requirement
  • Physician
  • Dentist
  • Doctor of Osteopathy
  • Chiropractor
  • Optometrist
  • Mental Health Professionals or Counselor
  • Podiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Teacher
  • School Counselor
  • School Official
  • Nurse
  • Social Worker
  • Hospital Intern
  • Nurse
  • Child Care Providers
  • Hospital and School Personnel
  • Law Enforcement Officers
  • Parole or Court Services Officers
  • Religious Healing Practitioners
  • Domestic Abuse Shelter Employees or Volunteers
  • Coroners
  • Any Safety-Sensitive Position.
Basis of Report of Abuse/Neglect Know or have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused or neglected
Where to Report Suspected Abuse State's attorney in county where child resides or is present, department of social services or to law enforcement officer
Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting Class 1 misdemeanor
Definition of "Abused or Neglected" Child
  1. Whose parent, guardian, or custodian has abandoned the child or has subjected the child to mistreatment or abuse;
  2. Who lacks proper parental care through the actions or omissions of the child's parent, guardian, or custodian;
  3. Whose environment is injurious to the child's welfare;
  4. Whose parent, guardian, or custodian fails or refuses to provide proper or necessary subsistence, supervision, education, medical care, or any other care necessary for the child's health, guidance, or well-being;
  5. Who is homeless, without proper care, or not domiciled with the child's parent, guardian, or custodian through no fault of the child's parent, guardian, or custodian;
  6. Who is threatened with substantial harm;
  7. Who has sustained emotional harm or mental injury as indicated by an injury to the child's intellectual or psychological capacity evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment in the child's ability to function within the child's normal range of performance and behavior, with due regard to the child's culture;
  8. Who is subject to sexual abuse, sexual molestation, or sexual exploitation by the child's parent, guardian, custodian, or any other person responsible for the child's care;
  9. Who was subject to prenatal exposure to abusive use of alcohol, marijuana, or any controlled drug or substance not lawfully prescribed by a practitioner;
  10. Whose parent, guardian, or custodian knowingly exposes the child to an environment that is being used for the manufacture, use, or distribution of methamphetamines or any other unlawfully manufactured controlled drug or substance.

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

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South Dakota Child Abuse Laws: Related Resources

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