When you read the title of this post, you probably think that it’s a simple question with a yes or no answer. However, abuse in Tennessee can come in many different forms, some more subtle than others. Often it is difficult for a child to talk about an abusive situation the other parent is hiding, especially if it is an unintentional one such as neglect. If you are seeking to modify a custody order, you will need to be able to prove to the court that your child is better off in your care, and proving that he or she is being abused is one way to do so.

Types of abuse

 The Children’s Bureau provides some commonly used definitions of the different kinds of abuse as found in the statutes of many different states. If your child does not have bruises or cuts, he or she may be emotionally abused, which the Bureau defines as an injury to the child’s psychological stability or emotional capacity.

Neglect takes a couple of different forms. If your child has lacked parental support, or your ex-spouse left your child alone for an extended period without saying where he or she is going, it can be considered abandonment. Typically, any distribution of drugs, or exposure of your child to drugs, drug paraphernalia or manufacturing is also a form of neglect.

Physical abuse can involve any physical harm to a child, including sexual violence. Willfully allowing your child to participate in pornography or prostitution is also a form of sexual abuse.