2014 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes
Title 23 - DOMESTIC RELATIONS
Chapter 63 - Child Protective Services
Section 6304 - Exclusions from child abuse

23 PA Cons Stat § 6304 (2014) What's This?

§ 6304. Exclusions from child abuse.

(a) Environmental factors.--No child shall be deemed to be physically or mentally abused based on injuries that result solely from environmental factors, such as inadequate housing, furnishings, income, clothing and medical care, that are beyond the control of the parent or person responsible for the child's welfare with whom the child resides. This subsection shall not apply to any child-care service as defined in this chapter, excluding an adoptive parent.

(b) Practice of religious beliefs.--If, upon investigation, the county agency determines that a child has not been provided needed medical or surgical care because of sincerely held religious beliefs of the child's parents or relative within the third degree of consanguinity and with whom the child resides, which beliefs are consistent with those of a bona fide religion, the child shall not be deemed to be physically or mentally abused. In such cases the following shall apply:

(1) The county agency shall closely monitor the child and the child's family and shall seek court-ordered medical intervention when the lack of medical or surgical care threatens the child's life or long-term health.

(2) All correspondence with a subject of the report and the records of the department and the county agency shall not reference child abuse and shall acknowledge the religious basis for the child's condition.

(3) The family shall be referred for general protective services, if appropriate.

(4) This subsection shall not apply if the failure to provide needed medical or surgical care causes the death of the child.

(5) This subsection shall not apply to any child-care service as defined in this chapter, excluding an adoptive parent.

(c) Use of force for supervision, control and safety purposes.--Subject to subsection (d), the use of reasonable force on or against a child by the child's own parent or person responsible for the child's welfare shall not be considered child abuse if any of the following conditions apply:

(1) The use of reasonable force constitutes incidental, minor or reasonable physical contact with the child or other actions that are designed to maintain order and control.

(2) The use of reasonable force is necessary:

(i) to quell a disturbance or remove the child from the scene of a disturbance that threatens physical injury to persons or damage to property;

(ii) to prevent the child from self-inflicted physical harm;

(iii) for self-defense or the defense of another individual; or

(iv) to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects or controlled substances or paraphernalia that are on the child or within the control of the child.

(d) Rights of parents.--Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to restrict the generally recognized existing rights of parents to use reasonable force on or against their children for the purposes of supervision, control and discipline of their children. Such reasonable force shall not constitute child abuse.

(e) Participation in events that involve physical contact with child.--An individual participating in a practice or competition in an interscholastic sport, physical education, a recreational activity or an extracurricular activity that involves physical contact with a child does not, in itself, constitute contact that is subject to the reporting requirements of this chapter.

(f) Child-on-child contact.--

(1) Harm or injury to a child that results from the act of another child shall not constitute child abuse unless the child who caused the harm or injury is a perpetrator.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the following shall apply:

(i) Acts constituting any of the following crimes against a child shall be subject to the reporting requirements of this chapter:

(A) rape as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3121 (relating to rape);

(B) involuntary deviate sexual intercourse as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse);

(C) sexual assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault);

(D) aggravated indecent assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault);

(E) indecent assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3126 (relating to indecent assault); and

(F) indecent exposure as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3127 (relating to indecent exposure).

(ii) No child shall be deemed to be a perpetrator of child abuse based solely on physical or mental injuries caused to another child in the course of a dispute, fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent.

(iii) A law enforcement official who receives a report of suspected child abuse is not required to make a report to the department under section 6334(a) (relating to disposition of complaints received), if the person allegedly responsible for the child abuse is a nonperpetrator child.

(g) Defensive force.--Reasonable force for self-defense or the defense of another individual, consistent with the provisions of 18 Pa.C.S. §§ 505 (relating to use of force in self-protection) and 506 (relating to use of force for the protection of other persons), shall not be considered child abuse.

23c6304v

(Dec. 18, 2013, P.L.1170, No.108, eff. Dec. 31, 2014)

2013 Amendment. Act 108 added section 6304.

Cross References. Section 6304 is referred to in section 6303 of this title.

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