Definition of Abuse

What are neglect and abuse?

If you are aware of or suspect any of the problems below, make a report to local police, sheriff or Human Services. You can make an anonymous report. You are not required to provide proof. Anyone who makes a good faith report based on reasonable grounds is immune from prosecution. If you believe the child is in immediate danger, call law enforcement 9-1-1.

  • DHS 541-757-5019
  • Albany Police 541-917-7500
  • Lebanon Police 541-451-1751
  • Sweet Home Police 541-367-5181
  • Linn County Sheriff 541-967-3907


*In 2017, neglect accounted for 44% of all abuse and neglect incidents in Linn County.

Failure to provide basic needs and care for a child, to such a degree that a child’s health and safety are endangered.

  • Example: Child is left alone with no supervision.
  • Signs: Child does not want to leave school;
  • Child is constantly tired;
  • Child has unmet physical, emotional or medical needs.\


Threat of Harm

*In 2017, Threat of Harm accounted for 38% of all abuse and neglect incidents in Linn County.

Subjecting a child to a substantial risk of harm to their health or welfare. 

  • Examples: Threatening to cause pain or injury;
  • A child witnessing domestic violence;
  • Adult sex offender moving in, returning to, or living with or caring for children under 18.


Sexual Abuse

*In 2017, sexual abuse accounted for 10% of all abuse and neglect incidents in Linn County.

Any sexual act between an adult and a minor, or between two minors when one exerts power over the other. (includes both contact and non-contact sexual acts.

  • In the majority of cases, the perpetrator is known and trusted by the child. The abuser establishes a secret, intimate relationship with the child, threatening the child if they tell. Contributing to sexual delinquency of a minor, using children in pornography or prostitution.


Physical Abuse

*In 2017, Physical Abuse accounted for 7% of all abuse and neglect incidents in Linn County.

Non-accidental injury to a child, caused by a parent or caregiver who has responsibility for that child’s care.

  • Signs: Bruises, welts, burns, cuts, broken bones, bites, sprains, poisoning;
  • Child’s story does not match the injury;
  • Child’s story changes with retelling.


Mental injury

*In 2017, mental injury accounted for 1% of all abuse and neglect incidents in Linn County.

Any mental injury to a child, which shall include only observable and substantial impairment of the child’s mental or psychological ability to function cause by cruelty to the child, with due regard to the culture of the child.

Ie: A pattern of rejecting, terrorizing, ignoring, isolating.

  • Examples: Calling a child mean names, telling they are stupid, worthless or a mistake;
  • Children often have sleep or speech disorders, fail to grow normally are aggressive or withdrawn or show abnormal need for emotional support.




Definitions come from the Oregon Department of Human Services. 

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