Child Abuse and Neglect
What is child abuse and neglect?
Child abuse and neglect includes any act that harms a child. Some people use the term "child maltreatment" to include both abuse and neglect.
Children who are maltreated may suffer in many ways. Young children are at special risk. They may not grow properly, or they may have learning problems. They may feel bad about themselves and not trust other people. They may be scared or angry. Sometimes they die.
Children are not able to understand that abuse or neglect is not their fault. They may think that they did something wrong and deserve what happened. It is up to adults who care to protect them. If you know about or suspect child abuse or neglect, there are ways you can help.
What are the types of abuse and neglect?
Child abuse means doing something that hurts a child. This may be physical, emotional, or sexual. Neglect means not giving or doing something that a child needs.
What should you do if you suspect that a child has been abused or neglected?
Call the police or local child protective services. You do not have to give your name. A hospital may be able to connect you to places in your area that can help. Many hospitals have special programs to deal with child abuse and neglect.
If a child is in immediate danger or has been badly hurt, don't wait. Call
If you are a child or teen who is being abused, don't keep the secret. Tell someone who can make a difference: a trusted family member, teacher, counselor, or doctor. You do not deserve to be abused.
The Childhelp National Child Abuse hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to offer information, advice, and support. Call 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).
What should you do if you are afraid someone might harm your child?
If you think your child is in immediate danger, call
If you are worried about the way someone acts around your child, find a quiet time to talk with the person alone. Help the person learn about child development issues. If it is your partner, you could take a parenting class together. Plan what you will do next if your concerns become more serious. Then follow through with your plan.
How can you prevent child abuse and neglect?
To protect your child from abuse:
To help children in your area:
Frequently Asked Questions
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