It’s often someone the child knows.
Child abuse is not just physical, it can also be sexual and/or affect the child emotionally. Some examples of emotional abuse are yelling, constant criticizing, and saying things that make the child feel worthless.
Neglect happens when a child’s basic needs (such as quality time, food and safety) are not being met.
Signs of Neglect
- Not having breakfast or getting enough to eat throughout the day
- Signs of poor cleaning and grooming such as dirty clothes, dirty shoes and messy hair
- Not seeing their doctor for regular checkups
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Unexplained marks, bruises, and swollen areas on the body
- Child seems scared of parent or caregiver
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Complaints of pain, bleeding, redness or discomfort in the anal or genital area
- Behavior that shows he/she knows too much about sex for his/her age
Signs of Emotional Abuse
- Extremes in behavior, ranging from overly aggressive and forceful to overly passive and laid-back
- Delayed physical, emotional or intellectual development
Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
To report child abuse or neglect, call your state agency and they will look into the situation as soon as possible. They don’t have to know who you are.
To report missing children, child pornography or any sexual crimes against children, call (800) – THE – LOST (843-5678). You can also submit a tip online.
If you would like to learn more about child abuse, speak with a counselor for support, find more resources near you, or are concerned about a child possibly being abused, call (800) – 422 – 4453 for 24/7 help.
Guides: Safety Tips for Parents, Tip Sheets for Parents and Caregivers (also available in Spanish), Resources for Parents, Tips for Parents: Teaching Discipline to Your Children and Adventures in Parenting
Keep in mind that it is a good idea to know where your children are at all times. If you think a child is being abused or neglected, be sure to report it as soon as possible. The sooner a child can get help, the better.
Call 800 – 4 – A – CHILD (422 – 4453) for 24/7 caring help with child abuse and neglect.
– National Child Abuse Awareness Month 2016: Resource Guide. Child Welfare Information Gateway web site. http://1.usa.gov/1Nv4chf. Accessed April 28, 2016.