Whether child abuse is characterized as a social problem, a medical diagnosis, or a psychological issue, it has significant civil and criminal legal ramifications. Prosecutable as a crime, it can result in the incarceration of the abuser. Adjudicated in civil courts, it can ultimately result in an abuser's permanent termination of parental rights. When you treat an abused child/adolescent, you are likely to become a participant in the legal response to child abuse allegations. Your role in the care of the abused child/adolescent as it relates to the legal setting is often a source of misunderstanding. This section is designed to provide a brief overview of legal issues that commonly relate to child abuse and is not intended to constitute or replace legal counsel. Contact your attorney and your risk management professional regarding these and any other legal matters or concerns.