In the state of Arizona, it is a serious situation to be accused of child abuse. If you are allegedly involved in a child abuse case, you could be facing criminal charges or possible loss of visitation rights with your child. Criminal penalties can be severe for child abuse, and a conviction could have a major impact on your life. If you have been accused, you need to act swiftly and retain an experienced Mesa criminal defense attorney to get the help you need.

What is Considered Child Abuse?

Sexual, emotional, and physical abuse can all be considered child abuse in the state of Arizona. What follows is a breakdown of the most common types of child abuse.

  • Neglect: This involves situations where children do not receive the appropriate attention or care for a medical problem or injury, they are unsupervised and exposed to danger as a result, and/or they are locked out of the house or otherwise deprived of basic needs.
  • Sexual abuse: This involves cases where children are forced to participate in sexual acts, including prostitution or pornography.
  • Physical abuse: This includes all situations where injuries have occurred outside the scope of accidents. Cuts, burns, bruises, broken bones, or fractures could all be categorized as physical abuse.
  • Abandonment: In these situations, a parent is accused of failing to provide the right support to the child, like supervision. If this continues for an indefinite period and is intentional, the parent could be charged with abandonment.
  • Emotional abuse: If the child suffers from severe depression, anxiety, withdrawal, or inappropriate aggressive behavior as a result of emotional abuse, the parent could be facing charges of emotional abuse.
  • Exploitation: When a parent allegedly uses a child for material gain, he or she could be facing exploitation charges.

Reporting Requirements

Some individuals are mandatory child abuse reporters, meaning they have a duty to share details of suspected child abuse with authorities. According to the Arizona Child Care Resource Portal, suspected child abuse should be reported to the Department of Child Safety as soon as possible.

Teachers and doctors, for example, are required to report child abuse if they suspect any situation involving violence or neglect. The Arizona Department of Child Safety then takes over, investigating reports of child abuse across the state. Having an investigation opened against you is often the first step in a case involving child abuse. If the investigation reveals further evidence of abuse, you could be facing criminal charges.

What To Do If You’re Accused

Being accused of child abuse is one of the most overwhelming experiences because it puts tremendous strain on your relationship with the child and other family members. Even if you hope the issue blows over with time, you need to react seriously if you’ve been charged. A conviction for child abuse could put you directly on the path to criminal penalties. Just to protect yourself, it’s a good idea to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you believe you may be facing child abuse charges.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please feel free to contact Mesa Criminal Attorney, Garrett L. Smith at 480-540-6021 log on to, or contact an attorney in your area.