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Child Abuse

What is Child Abuse?
Some Facts You Should Know About Child Abuse
Children Who Are Abused May Show Physical and Behavioral Signs
Abused Children May Also Show Changes in Behavior or School Performance
How To Report Child Abuse

What is Child Abuse?

Physical Abuse includes beating, burning, punching a child. Disciplinary methods that leave a mark on a child.

Emotional abuse may involve criticizing, insulting, rejecting or with-holding love from a child that effects the well being of the child, exposure to fearful situations, verbal threats of harm.

Sexual abuse includes rape, touching/fondling or involving a child in pornography. An adult who exposes himself to a child. Sexual harassment, allowing kids to witness sexual activity, subjecting the child to pornography.

Neglect includes failure to provide for a child's basic physical, emotional or educational needs, placing children at risk of physical or sexual abuse.
*Leaving a young child home alone or failing to provide needed medical care may be considered neglect.    ↑ TOP

Facts about Child Abuse

Who abuses children?
Most often the abuser is someone the child knows, such as a parent, neighbor or relative. (But most adults are not abusers.)

Where does it happen?
Child abuse usually happens in the child's home. Sometimes it happens in other settings, such as a child-care center.(But this is fairly uncommon.)

Isn't child abuse rare? Each year, close to 3 million reports of suspected abuse are filed in the U.S. Many more cases may never get reported. One victim of child abuse is one too many.    ↑ TOP

Signs of Abuse

Abused children may seem:

* Nervous around adults or afraid of certain adults
* Reluctant to go home (coming to school early or staying late, for example)
* Very passive and withdrawn, or aggressive and disruptive
* Tired a lot, or they may complain of nightmares or not sleeping well
* Fearful and anxious    ↑ TOP

Abused Children May Also Show Changes in Behavior or School Performance

Some signs of physical abuse:
* unexplained burns, bruises, black eyes or other injuries
* apparent fear of a parent or caretaker
* faded bruises or healing injuries after missing school
Some signs of sexual abuse:
* difficulty walking or sitting, or other indications of injury in the genital area
* sexual knowledge or behavior beyond what is normal for the child's age
* running away from home
Some 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
Some signs of neglect:
* missing school a lot
* 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
(These signs don't prove that a child is being abused. But they could be a signal that the child and his or her family need help.)
Also, know the signs of an abusive adult. Consider the possibility of abuse if a parent or caretaker:
* seems unconcerned about the child's welfare at school or at home
* denies problems at school or at home - or blames the child for them
* sees the child as worthless or as a burden
* avoids discussing the child's injuries, or gives conflicting explanations for them
* abuses alcohol or other drugs
* seems isolated from other parents and school, and community activities
* uses harsh physical discipline or asks other caretakers to use it
* depends on the child for emotional support
* seems indifferent to the child
* seems secretive or tries to isolate the child from other children
* frequently blames, belittles or insults the child
(These signs don't prove that an adult Is an abuser. But they could be a signal that the adult and his or her family need help.)    ↑ TOP

Report Child Abuse

* If you know or suspect that a child may be abused or neglected, call the police if it is an emergency or call the Child Abuse Report Hotline at 1(800)752-6200.    ↑ TOP

Child Neglect