(Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

  1. a government official (as in Sweden or New Zealand) appointed to receive and investigate complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials;
  2. one that investigates, reports on, and helps settle complaints.


Specific definitions of abuse or neglect, according to Colorado State law include the following:

Physical Abuse: when there is evidence the child has experienced physical harm or injury by the parent or caretaker, or has been subjected to circumstances that could reasonably pose a serious threat of physical harm or injury.

Neglect of Basic Needs: when the parent or caretaker fails either deliberately or through inability, to take those actions necessary to provide a child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or other essential care.

Educational Neglect: when the parent or caretaker either through action or omission, fails to provide for the child’s education and/or school attendance.

Abandonment: when the child has no parental support nor available alternate caretaker.

Medical Neglect: when the child requires medical treatment that the parent/ caretaker has not provided, and the failure to provide such care presents a substantial risk to the child.

Emotional Maltreatment: when the parent or caretaker’s acts or omissions have caused, or are likely to cause, identifiable and substantial impairment to the child’s psychological or intellectual capacity or functioning.

Lack of Supervision: when the child’s age and skill level would require parental supervision and could or did result in harm to the child.

Sexual Abuse: when a child has been subjected to sexual intercourse, sexual contact, including touching of the genitals, buttocks, or breasts. Sexual abuse also includes actions and behaviors when there is not physical contact, including but not limited to exhibitionism, sexual exploitation, and pornography.

Lack of Adequate Care: when the parent is unavailable to provide care due to incarceration or hospitalization and there is no alternate caretaker.