Legal Definitions for Reporting Abuse and Neglect

Reporting Abuse and Neglect Definitions

Legal Definitions as found in Miss. Code Annotated Section 43-21-105:

  • Neglected child” means a child:
    (i) Whose parent, guardian or custodian or any person responsible for his care or support, neglects or refuses, when able so to do, to provide for him proper and necessary care or support, or education as required by law, or medical, surgical, or other care necessary for his well-being; however, a parent who withholds medical treatment from any child who in good faith is under treatment by spiritual means alone through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof shall not, for that reason alone, be considered to be neglectful under any provision of this chapter; or
    (ii) Who is otherwise without proper care, custody, supervision or support; or
    (iii) Who, for any reason, lacks the special care made necessary for him by reason of his mental condition, whether the mental condition is having mental illness or having an intellectual disability; or
    (iv) Who, for any reason, lacks the care necessary for his health, morals or well-being.
  • Abused child” means a child whose parent, guardian or custodian or any person responsible for his care or support, whether legally obligated to do so or not, has caused or allowed to be caused, upon the child, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, commercial sexual exploitation, emotional abuse, mental injury, nonaccidental physical injury or other maltreatment. However, physical discipline, including spanking, performed on a child by a parent, guardian or custodian in a reasonable manner shall not be deemed abuse under this section. “Abused child” also means a child who is or has been trafficked within the meaning of the Mississippi Human Trafficking Act by any person, without regard to the relationship of the person to the child.
  • Sexual abuse” means obscene or pornographic photographing, filming or depiction of children for commercial purposes, or the rape, molestation, incest, prostitution or other such forms of sexual exploitation of children under circumstances which indicate that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or threatened.
  • Any person responsible for care or support” means the person who is providing for the child at a given time. This term shall include, but is not limited to, stepparents, foster parents, relatives, nonlicensed babysitters or other similar persons responsible for a child and staff of residential care facilities and group homes that are licensed by the Department of Human Services or the Department of Child Protection Services.
  • Out-of-home” setting means the temporary supervision or care of children by the staff of licensed day care centers, the staff of public, private and state schools, the staff of juvenile detention facilities, the staff of unlicensed residential care facilities and group homes and the staff of, or individuals representing, churches, civic or social organizations.
  • Commercial sexual exploitation” means any sexual act or crime of a sexual nature, which is committed against a child for financial or economic gain, to obtain a thing of value for quid pro quo exchange of property or for any other purpose.

Helpful Definitions for Human Trafficking:

Mississippi Anti- Human Trafficking Act [ Human Trafficking Act M.C.A. § 97-3-54 et seq.]

  • Sex Trafficking”- The term 'sex trafficking victim' means an individual who has been subjected to the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not reached age 18, as defined by the Trafficking Victims Act of 2000.
  • Labor trafficking” involves using force, fraud, or coercion to recruit, harbor, transport, obtain or employ a person for labor or services in involuntary servitude, debt bondage or slavery. 22 U.S.C. § 7102(11)(b).