Necessity to Address Child Torture Report



If a child survives the worst forms of child abuse (Child Torture) many state laws do not adequately address the level of severity inhumanity the child has faced if the child survives.  If the child dies, the enhanced penalties for torture exist in most states for homicide statutes.

Based on the compiled sample cases, the physicians defined child torture in the medical context as: (1) the perpetrator subjecting the child to at least two physical assaults… which would cause prolonged physical pain, emotional distress, bodily injury or death, AND (2) at least two elements of psychological abuse such as isolation, intimidation, emotional/physical maltreatment terrorizing, spurning, or deprivation inflicted by the child’s caretaker.[1]

The publication analyzes laws across the states and suggests a model code section to address the issue.


[1] Barbara L. Knox et. al., Child Torture as a Form of Child Abuse, 7 J. Child Adolescent Trauma, 37, 46 (2014) (Table 4: Definition).

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.