Child abuse is harm done to a child through a physical, emotional, or sexual act, or by neglect or abandonment.
Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect
Some common signs of abuse or neglect of a child include:
Overly passive or overly aggressive behavior
Staying away from or being afraid to go home
Lacking clean or appropriate clothes, food, or other basic necessities
Conduct Parents Display That May Indicate Child Abuse or Neglect
Berating, shaming, blaming, or rejecting the child
Relying on the child for the parent's own emotional needs
Offering conflicting or unconvincing explanations of a child's physical injuries
Report Suspected Child Abuse
If an abusive event is in progress or you know or suspect someone abused, neglected, or exploited a child, call 911.
You may also:
Contact your local child protective agency. If you suspect a child is being abused, they can assess the situation and take appropriate action.
Call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) if:
You suspect abuse
You are a child abuse victim
You are a parent who needs help
The hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and operates in the United States, its territories, and Canada.
There are also some other resources available with information on how to handle a suspected child abuse and/or neglect situation:
The Child Welfare Information Gateway has information on how to:
Protect a child’s safety
Prevent child maltreatment
Report suspected abuse and neglect
The National Council on Child Abuse & Family Violence has contact information by state for reporting child abuse..
Each state controls and operates its own child protective services. Visit your state’s health and human resources website for more information.