Defining Child Torture

March 10, 2017

Priority: Pass legislation to define child torture as a form of child abuse, distinguishing it from other forms of child abuse.

Background: Child torture is the most severe form of child abuse.  The majority of children who are tortured end up dying. Research has shown that individuals who torture children have very poor rehabilitation prospects and a high rate of recidivism. Research has also shown that the torturer moves onto the next child after the child being tortured dies. As such, the siblings of a tortured child are at great risk – a risk that is substantially higher than other forms of abuse.

Legislation is needed to define child torture and distinguish it from other forms of abuse.  Accurately defining what type of abuse is being perpetuated is essential for both social services and for the courts.  Failure to accurately identify the type of abuse being perpetrated could result in a safety plan or a plan to reunify the family – a scenario that could be deadly if the parent or legal guardian is subjecting a child to torture