Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 800-422-4453
A Report of Child Abuse is made every 10 seconds in the Unites States.
A National Research Council report noted that child abuse can leave a legacy of brain damage, aggressive and antisocial behavior, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, juvenile and adult criminal behavior.
The Department of Defense is actively working to prevent abuse by sponsoring a variety of programs on military bases.
What is Child Abuse?
- Physical abuse: Any non-accidental injury to a child
- Emotional abuse: Any attitude or behavior, which interferes with a child’s mental health or social development
- Neglect: Failure to provide for a child’s physical needs
- Sexual abuse: Any sexual act between an adult and child
How to make a Child Abuse report
Contact the local law enforcement agency or call 9-1-1 if a child is suspected to be in immediate danger. Department names vary from state to state. Look in the front of a phone book for listings under:
- Child Abuse
- The Department of Social Services
- The Department of Human Services
- Children, Youth and Family Services
Information to include when making a report
Provide as much information as available:
- The child: child’s name (if unknown, provide a description of the child), age (if unknown, give an approximate age range), and address (or where the child can be found)
- The suspected abuser: suspects name (if unknown provide a description of the person) and relationship to the child (parent, neighbor, babysitter, etc.)
- The type of abuse suspected: description of the suspected abuse and when it occurred, and concern for child’s immediate safety
Who Abuses and Neglects Children?
MYTH #1: It’s only abuse if it’s violent
Fact: Physical abuse is just one type of child abuse. Neglect and emotional abuse can be just as damaging, and since they are more subtle, others are less likely to intervene
MYTH #2: Only bad people abuse their children
Fact: While it’s easy to say that only “bad people” abuse their children, it’s not always so black and white. Not all abusers are intentionally harming their children. Many have been victims of abuse themselves, and don’t know any other way to parent. Others may be struggling with mental health issues or a substance abuse problem
MYTH #3: Child abuse doesn’t happen in “good” families
Fact: Child abuse doesn’t only happen in poor families or bad neighborhoods. It crosses all racial, economic, and cultural lines. Sometimes, families who seem to have it all from the outside are hiding a different story behind closed doors
MYTH #4: Most child abusers are strangers
Fact: While abuse by strangers does happen, most abusers are family members or others close to the family
MYTH #5: Abused children always grow up to be abusers.
Fact: It is true that abused children are more likely to repeat the cycle as adults, unconsciously repeating what they experienced as children. On the other hand, many adult survivors of child abuse have a strong motivation to protect their children against what they went through and become excellent parents.