Physical Abuse- an injury to a child that is not an accident, may include: hitting, punching, beating, burning, biting, cutting, shaking, or any action that physically harms a child.

Possible Signs of Physical Abuse

  • Unexplained burns, bruises, black eyes or other injuries
  • Apparent fear of a parent or caretaker
  • Faded bruises or healing injuries
  • Injuries that do not match the explanation



Emotional Abuse– maltreatment of a child that may involve criticizing, insulting, yelling, swearing, manipulating, rejecting or withholding love.

Possible Signs of Emotional Abuse:

  • Acting overly mature or immature for the child’s age
  • Extreme changes in behavior
  • Delays in physical or emotional development
  • Attempted suicide
  • Lack of emotional attachment to the parent



Sexual Abuse– any sexual activity with a child, including exhibitionism, photographs or films, pornography, prostitution, rape, or fondling.

Possible Signs of Sexual Abuse:

  • Difficulty walking or sitting, or other indications of injury to the genital area
  • Sexual knowledge or behavior beyond what is normal for the child’s age
  • Running away from home



Neglect- failure to provide for a child’s basic physical, emotional, medical or educational needs.

Possible Signs of Neglect:

  • Frequently missing school
  • Begging for or stealing money or food
  • Lacking needed medical or dental care
  • Being frequently dirty
  • Using alcohol or other drugs
  • Saying there is no one at home to take care of him or her


Who Abuses Children?

Most often the abuser is someone the child knows, such as a parent, relative, neighbor or friend of the family.

How Often Does Child Abuse Occur?

Each year, close to 3 million reports of suspected abuse are made in the United States. Many more cases never get reported. One victim of child abuse is too many!

Children who are abused may show physical and behavioral signs. You may be a child’s only lifeline to safety. Please pay attention to the treatment of children around you. Child abuse is everyone’s business.


Child abuse and neglect occur in all segments of our society, but the risk factors are greater in families where parents:

  • Abuse alcohol or drugs
  • Are isolated from their families or communities
  • Have difficulty controlling their anger or stress
  • Appear uninterested in the care, nourishment, or safety of their children
  • Seem to be having serious economic, housing, or personal problems