Child Sexual Abuse

Daisy Rogozinsky
February 1, 2023

Child sexual abuse is a serious crime that is illegal in the United States. In this article, we’ll define the term “child sexual abuse” and explain the laws that relate to it.

Key Takeaways

  • Child sexual abuse can be defined in different ways, but it is generally considered to include any sexual exploitation of a child, including sexual contact, pornography, prostitution, and incest
  • Child sexual abuse laws vary from state to state
  • Different states mandate different people to report any suspected child abuse
  • The statute of limitations for child sexual abuse is another factor that varies from state to state
  • Child sexual abuse is typically a felony punishable by a minimum of one year in prison, with longer sentences if there are aggravating circumstances 

What Is Child Sexual Abuse?

According to the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), child sexual abuse is “the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct; or the rape, and in cases of caretaker or inter-familial relationships, statutory rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children.”

Another definition from the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect is "Contacts or interactions between a child and an adult when the child is being used for sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or another person when the perpetrator or another person is in a position of power or control over the victim." 

Child Sexual Abuse Law

Every state has its own laws about child sexual abuse. 

In some states, mandated reporters, or people in certain professions such as foster parents, lawyers, camp counselors, teachers, and social workers, are required to report child abuse when they suspect it. In others, any person who suspects child abuse is required to report it to the authorities.

The statute of limitations for child sexual abuse also varies from state to state, typically ranging from fewer than 10 to more than 21 years. The statute of limitations may be counted from when the victim turns 18, or until they become a certain age, such as 31.

Each state has its own penalties for child sexual abuse, although it is generally considered to be a felony punishable by a minimum of one year in prison. Aggravating circumstances will typically increase the sentence to life in prison. Aggravating circumstances include:

  • Using force or threats
  • Kidnapped a child in the process of committing child sexual abuse
  • Inflicting serious bodily injury or death

If you have been charged with child sexual abuse, it is important to hire an experienced sexual assault lawyer who will be able to build a defense for you in order to help you be acquitted or receive the minimum possible penalty.

Featured Sexual Assault Lawyers

Jackman Law

Google rating
9 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Medical Malpractice, Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect, Personal Injury, Sexual Assault
View Profile

Law Firm of Roger 'Rocky' Walton, P.C.

Google rating
49 years in practice
Auto Accidents, DUI Law, Personal Injury, Sexual Assault, Wrongful Death
View Profile

Dordulian Law Group

Google rating
28 years in practice
Employment Law, Personal Injury, Sexual Assault
View Profile

Theory Law APC

Google rating
10 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Employment Law, Personal Injury
View Profile

Lake Tapps Legal

10 years in practice
Criminal Defense
View Profile

D Michael Mullori Jr Attorney At Law

Google rating
23 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Premises Liability
View Profile

Related Posts

Statutory Rape
Daisy RogozinskyFebruary 14, 2023
Sexual Consent
Daisy RogozinskyJanuary 8, 2023
Commercial Sexual Exploitation
Daisy RogozinskyFebruary 1, 2023
Sexual Contact
Daisy RogozinskyJanuary 26, 2023
Attorney At Law is changing how clients connect with lawyers. By providing an innovative platform to lawyers who want to expand their practice’s reach, AAL is bringing law practices into the future.
6142 Innovation Way
Carlsbad, California 92009
Some of the content of this website may be considered attorney advertising under the rules of certain jurisdictions. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
crossmenuchevron-upchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram