According to Georgia law, child abuse is defined as:
“(A) Physical injury or death inflicted upon a child by a parent or caretaker thereof by other than accidental means; provided, however, physical forms of discipline may be used as long as there is no physical injury to the child;
(B) Neglect or exploitation of a child by a parent or caretaker thereof;
(C) Sexual abuse of a child; or
(D) Sexual exploitation of a child.”
O.C.G.A. § 19-15-1. See also O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5.
In order to stem the tide of child abuse in the state of Georgia, Georgia has designated certain individuals as mandatory reporters of child abuse. What this means in essence is that if any “mandatory reporter” suspects that a child they have encountered has been abused, that individual must report the suspected abuse to the authorities. In Georgia, the designated mandatory reporters of child abuse include:
- Physicians licensed to practice medicine, interns, or residents;
- Hospital or medical personnel;
- Licensed psychologists and persons participating in internships to obtain licensing;
- Registered professional nurses or licensed practical nurses or nurse's aides;
- Professional counselors, social workers, or marriage and family therapists;
- School teachers;
- School administrators;
- School guidance counselors, visiting teachers, school social workers, or school psychologists;
- Child welfare agency personnel;
- Child-counseling personnel;
- Child service organization personnel;
- Law enforcement personnel; or
- Reproductive health care facility or pregnancy resource center personnel and volunteers.
19-7-5(c)(1)(A) – (O).
If your child is a victim of child abuse, or if you suspect that a child that you know and love is a victim of child abuse, please report it immediately. Contact your local Department of Family and Children Services office, call 1-855-GACHILD or contact your local police department.