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RULE §707.455What is physical abuse?
Texas Register

(a) Physical abuse is a subset of the statutory definitions of abuse that appear in Texas Family Code §261.001(1) and includes the following acts or omissions by a person:

  (1) Physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm;

  (2) Failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another person that results in physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child;

  (3) The current use by a person of a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical injury to a child; or

  (4) Causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code.

(b) In this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

  (1) "Genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury" means declaring or exhibiting the intent or determination to inflict real and significant physical injury or damage to a child. The declaration or exhibition does not require actual physical contact or injury. It includes but is not limited to the following acts or attempt to commit the following acts: strangling as defined in §22.01(b)(2)(B), Texas Penal Code; suffocating; shaking; hitting a child on the head; hitting, kicking, or punching a child's body parts or organs; throwing a child; throwing an object at a child; stabbing; shooting; or otherwise committing a violent act against a child.

  (2) "Physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child" means real and significant physical injury or damage to a child that includes but is not limited to:

    (A) Any of the following, if caused by an action of the alleged perpetrator directed toward the alleged victim: substantial or frequent skin bruising; substantial cuts, welts, lacerations, or pinch marks; skull or other bone fractures; damage to cartilage; brain damage; subdural hematoma; soft tissue swelling; impairment of or injury to any bodily organ or function; any other internal injury otherwise not specified; permanent or temporary disfigurement; burns; scalds; wounds, including puncture wounds; bite marks; causing or permitting a child to consume or inhale a poisonous or noxious substance that has the capacity to interfere with normal physiological functions; exposing a child to dangerous chemicals; starvation; concussions; dislocations; sprains; subjecting a child to Munchausen syndrome by proxy or a fictitious illness by proxy if the incident is confirmed by medical personnel; death; or any other cruel act that causes pain or suffering to the child.

    (B) Any of the following conditions that occur in an infant under the age of one because of the mother's prenatal use of alcohol or a controlled substance that was not lawfully prescribed by a medical practitioner, was lawfully prescribed as a result of the mother seeking out multiple health care providers as a means of exceeding ordinary dosages, or was not being used in accordance with a lawfully issued prescription, if the mother knew or reasonably should have known she was pregnant:

      (i) A physician's written diagnosis of physical manifestations of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Effect, which includes Alcohol-Related Birth Defects and Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder;

      (ii) A physician's written opinion that the newborn was harmed from in utero exposure to alcohol or a controlled substance; or

      (iii) A physician's diagnosis of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.

    (C) Any of the following physical injuries to a child of any age caused by a person's use of a controlled substance other than prenatal use: illness; interference with normal physiological functions or motor coordination; or any other physical harm related to the person's current use, manufacture, or possession of the controlled substance.

  (3) "Reasonable discipline" means discipline that is reasonable in manner and moderate in degree; does not constitute cruelty, reckless behavior, or grossly negligent behavior; and is administered for purposes of restraining or correcting the child. It shall not include an act that is likely to cause or causes injury more serious than transient pain or minor temporary marks. The age, size, and condition of the child; the location of the injury; and the frequency or recurrence of injuries shall be considered when determining whether the discipline is reasonable and moderate.

Source Note: The provisions of this §707.455 adopted to be effective July 15, 2020, 45 TexReg 4780

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