Definitions of Types of Child Maltreatment

These definitions are provided by Wisconsin Statute 48.02
View the complete Children's Code (Ch.48)

Physical Abuse

  • Physical injury, which includes but is not limited to lacerations, fractured bones, burns, internal injuries, severe or frequent bruising or great bodily harm, that is inflicted on a child by other than accidental means.


  • Failure, refusal or inability on the part of a caregiver, for reasons other than poverty, to provide necessary care, food, clothing, medical or dental care or shelter so as to seriously endanger the physical health of the child.

Sexual Abuse

Cross references specific criminal statuses

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Sexual contact
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Prostitution/trafficking
  • Forced viewing of pornography or sexual activity for the purposes of sexual gratification or degradation
  • Exposure of genitals/intimate parts for the purposes of sexual arousal/gratification

Emotional Damage

  • Harm to a child's psychological or intellectual functioning that is evidenced by one or more of the following characteristics exhibited to a severe degree: anxiety; depression; withdrawal; outward aggressive behavior; or a substantial and observable change in behavior, emotional response or cognition that is not within the normal range for the child's age and stage of development.
  • Jurisdiction requires that the parent, guardian or legal custodian has neglected, refused or been unable and is neglecting, refusing or unable, for reasons other than poverty, to obtain necessary treatment or to take necessary steps to ameliorate the symptoms.

Manufacturing of Methamphetamine

  • With a child physically present during the manufacture
  • In a child’s home, on the premises of a child’s home, or in a motor vehicle located on the premises of a child’s home
  • Under any other circumstances in which a reasonable person should have known that the manufacture would be seen, smelled, or heard by a child

Unborn Child Abuse

  • Serious physical harm inflicted on the unborn child, and the risk of serious physical harm to the child when born, caused by the habitual lack of self-control of the expectant mother of the unborn child in the use of alcohol beverages, controlled substances or controlled substance analogs, exhibited to a severe degree


To report child abuse or neglect, please contact the Department of Human Services Access Unit at (715) 839-7118 Monday through Friday between 8am - 4:30pm.

Evenings after 4:30pm, weekends, and holidays please contact the Police Department at (715) 839-4972. For emergency situations dial 911.