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Definition of Terms

If You Suspect Abuse or Neglect

In case of any emergency, dial 911 immediately.



In addition, you must:



1. Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline for reporting child abuse and neglect: 800-792-5200

2. Call the Smith College Campus Police: 413-585-2490

Read more on reporting child abuse

Five College Child Safety Certification

Get certified to work with children on the Smith College campus using the Five College Child Safety Certification website.

Authorized Adult

Individuals, age 18 and older, paid or unpaid, who interact with, supervise, chaperone, or otherwise oversee minors in a program or activity, or in recreational and/or residential facilities. This includes but is not limited to faculty, staff, volunteers, graduate and undergraduate students, interns, employees of temporary employment agencies, and independent contractors/consultants. The Authorized Adults’ roles may include positions as counselors, chaperones, coaches, instructors, etc.

Child, Youth, Minor and Adult 

Following the definitions of the public school system, a “child” is anyone age of 11 or under.  A “youth” is anyone not a “child” and under the age of 18. An adult is anyone 18 years of age or older. For the purposes of this document, all individuals under the age of 18 will be referred to as “minors”.

Minors Abuse

For purposes of this Policy, “minors abuse” includes any of the following:  

  1. Physical Abuse:  Violent non-accidental contact which results in injury. This includes, but is not limited to, striking, biting, or shaking.  Injuries include but are not limited to bruises, fractures, cuts, and burns.
  2. Sexual Abuse:  Any form of sexual activity with a minor, whether on Smith premises, at home, or any other setting.  The abuser may be an adult, an adolescent, or another minor. Sexual abuse includes, without limitation, physical sexual contact of any kind, emotional or mental sexual harassment, providing sexual materials in any form to minors or assisting them in any way in gaining access to such materials.
  3. Emotional Abuse:  A pattern of intentional conduct which crushes a minor’s spirit and/or attacks his/her self-worth through rejection, threats, terrorizing, isolating, or belittling.
  4. Child Pornography: Any possession or record of possession of child pornography on college property or on personal property, including the accessing of such materials through electronic or any other media that may exist.

Vulnerable Adults 

Persons aged 18 or older who, due to age and/or disability is unable to protect him/herself. Disabilities may include both mental and physical disabilities. 

Designated Persons

Smith employees who have specific responsibility for ensuring effective safeguarding and protection procedures. All designated persons have received basic level training in Child Protection and can serve as resources for questions or concerns. These include:

Smith Program / Activity / Events

A Smith Program is any program, event or activity that is organized, sponsored or co-sponsored by Smith College. 

Programs include multi-day programs such as summer camps or semester-long education programs or single day events or activities like a sports clinic. These terms are all used to indicate a Smith program.

MA Definitions of Abuse or Injury

Abuse: The non-accidental commission of any act by a caretaker upon a child under age 18 which causes, or creates a substantial risk of, physical or emotional injury; or an act by a caretaker involving a child that constitutes a sexual offense under the laws of the Commonwealth; or any sexual contact between a caretaker and a child under the care of that individual. This definition is not dependent upon location (i.e., abuse can occur while the child is in an out-of-home or in-home setting).

Neglect: Failure by a caretaker, either deliberately or through negligence or inability, to take those   actions necessary to provide a child with minimally adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, supervision, emotional stability and growth, or other essential care; provided, however, that such inability is not due solely to inadequate economic resources or solely to the existence of a handicapping condition. This definition is not dependent upon location (i.e., neglect can occur while the child is in an out-of-home or in-home setting).

Physical Injury: Death; or fracture of a bone, a subdural hematoma, burns, impairment of any organ, and any other such nontrivial injury; or soft tissue swelling or skin bruising, depending upon such factors as the child’s age, circumstances under which the injury occurred and the number and location of bruises; or addiction to a drug or drugs at birth; or failure to thrive.

Emotional Injury: An impairment to or disorder of the intellectual or psychological capacity of a child as evidenced by observable and substantial reduction in the child’s ability to function within a normal range of performance and behavior

Host Organization

Any community organization that Smith partners with in its community service or community based learning program or activity.