Necessity to Address Child Torture Report


Upcoming October 2017 (The draft was published to the field in August 2017, NCCASP is incorporating commentary received). 

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.

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]

Physical assaults commonly manifest themselves as: hitting or kicking the child,  causing the child to impact objects, beating the child with objects, tying, binding, or gagging the child, stabbing or cutting the child, burning the child, breaking the child’s bones, exposing the child  to prolonged environmental heat or cold, forcing the child to exercise for extended periods of time, forcefully restraining the child or forcing the child to maintain an uncomfortable position for extended periods of time, forcing the child to  ingest noxious fluids, dangerous materials or excrement, sexually assaulting the child, and  intentionally aggravating the child’s pain of prior injuries.[2]

Psychological abuses can manifest as isolation, intimidation/emotional maltreatment, or deprivation.   Perpetrators often remove the child from school or other outside activities, and sometime even imprison the alone and or in tightly confined spaces.[3]  They often terrorize the child by threatening harm on pets, loved ones, loved objects, further harm against the child, cursing at the child, humiliating the child, and spurning affection.[4]  They may even deprive the child of food, water, and sleep.  And as punishment make the child watch other eat or drink.  Furthermore, perpetrators also refuse to seek care for injuries he or she may have caused the child.

The publication will analyze laws across the states and suggest a model code section to address the issue.  The Report will Coincide with the publication of the textbook Investigation and Prosecution of Child Torture by Sage Publications.


[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.