The National Domestic Violence Hotline:
National Child Abuse Hotline
National Sexual Assault Hotline
Elder Abuse (state hotlines vary):
Child abuse is an act by a parent or caretaker that results or allows a child to be subjected to emotional harm, physical injury, sexual assault, or death. Emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse are different types of child abuse.
Regardless of the type of child abuse, the result is serious emotional or physical harm.
Almost 5 children die every day as a result of child abuse. Three-fourths of those children are under the age of four.
It is estimated that between 60-85% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.
Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.
Long-Term Effects of Child Abuse:
While there are several types of child abuse, all child abuse leaves lasting scars long after broken bones heal.
Difficulties with relationships. Growing up in a negligent and abusive environment damages the ability to easily trust another person.
Core feelings of being worthless and damaged. It's very difficult to overcome the feelings that, as an abused child, you were to blame for the abuse. As adults, it's common to accept that those core feelings of worthlessness are facts. This may lead to settling for less than deserved in every aspect of adult life.
Types of Child Abuse:
Emotional Child Abuse:
- Yelling, bullying and threatening.
- Ignoring or rejecting the child as punishment.
- Name calling.
- Belittling, shaming and humiliating the child.
- Exposing the child to other types of violence (like, making the child watch as the abuser abuses another victim)
Physical Child Abuse involves the direct physical injury of a child which may occur deliberately or not. It can be as a result of severe punishment that is inappropriate for the child's age. Many physically abusive caretakers insist that physical child abuse is a way to "make the child behave," but there are several different elements in child abuse.
Child Sexual Abuse is extraordinarily complicated, thanks to the emotional issues associated with it. Guilt, shame, fear and disgust are all very common for sexually abused children to feel. Child sexual abuse includes being exposed to sexual situations or material whether or not touching occurred. False accusations are rare for child sexual abuse, so if a child comes to you, listen to them.
Child Neglect: the failure of a parent or caregiver to provide the basic needs - food, clothing, hygiene, and supervision - of a child. Child neglect is a very common form of child abuse and occurs for many reasons; drug use in the parent, illness, or injury.
Warning signs of Physical Child Abuse:
- Unexplained, frequent bruises, welts, and broken bones.
- Child shies away from any physical contact.
- Child wears inappropriate clothes to cover up injuries.
- Child is on constant alert; always vigilant.
Warning Signs of Child Neglect:
- Ill-fitting, dirty or otherwise inappropriate clothes
- Consistently poor hygiene
- Untreated illness or injuries.
- Child is left alone at home often.
- Child attends school infrequently.
Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse in Children:
- Child is withdrawn, fearful or anxious with extremes in behavior.
- Child isn't attached to parent.
- Child behaves inappropriately adult-like or baby-like.
Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse in a Child:
- Shows knowledge of sexual acts beyond what is age appropriate.
- Strongly avoids a specific person without a discernible reason.
- Trouble sitting or walking.
What Do I Say To An Abused Child?
Child abuse is rarely faked, so it's important to take any allegations of abuse seriously. If a child comes to you with claims of abuse, call 1-800-4AChild to report abuse or get help.
Reassure the abused child that it was not their fault; that they did nothing wrong. It's hard to come forward and the feelings of guilt are strong for an abused child.
Don't play interrogator and fire questions at the child because it will only confuse them and make them feel as though you're questioning the validity of their claims of abuse.
Remain as calm as you can.
Make sure that the child is safe. Do not put yourself or that child at risk. Alert the professionals to the abuse.
Child Abuse Hotlines:
National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (US, its territories, and Canada)
National Youth Crisis Hotline - 1-800-HIT-HOME
For Parents: 1-855-4-A-PARENT
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
Child Abuse Resources For Parents:
National Parent Helpline Resources and an anonymous helpline staffed by volunteers to help foster emotional support for parents and build stronger families.
Parents Anonymous is a child abuse prevention organization dedicated to supporting families creating strong communities and safe homes for all children.
Help For Parents and Caregivers (part of ChildHelp.Org) has a wealth of information about parenting and overcoming the challenges that come with being a first time parent.
Professional Resources for Child Abuse:
Nurse-Family Partnership - a voluntary, free maternal and childhood health program, Nurse-Family Partnership gives first-time moms valuable knowledge and support throughout pregnancy and until their babies reach two years of age. Partnering first-time moms with caring nurse home visitors empowers these mothers to confidently create a better life for their children and themselves.
Darkness to Light - nationally available program proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child protective behaviors. The program is available online or to be taught in group sessions.
Promising Practices Network - The PPN site features summaries of programs and practices that are proven to improve outcomes for children. All programs have been screened for quality and to ensure that they have evidence of positive effects.
National Children's Alliance: is a professional membership organization dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient – and put the needs of child victims first.
Child Welfare Information Gateway - connects child welfare and related professionals to comprehensive information and resources to help protect children and strengthen families. We feature the latest on topics from prevention to permanency, including child abuse and neglect, foster care, and adoption.
Hope Shining - website devoted to increasing awareness, prevention, and support services for children, families, and communities impacted by violence and abuse.
For Victims of Child Abuse:
Childhelp - dedicated to preventing and treating child abuse. If you are being abused, know that no one has the right to do this to you. Please call the hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD, then press one. The hotline is confidential which means you don't have to tell them who you are. It is also free, so no one will see the number on your phone bill.
This hotline is staffed by degreed, professional counselors who are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. All calls are anonymous and toll-free. Use this number if you know or suspect a child is being abused; if you are a child who is being abused; of if you abuse or fear you may abuse your children.
Hope Shining has links for child abuse reporting phone numbers for every state.
Pandora's Project - mission is to provide information, facilitate peer support and offer assistance to male and female survivors of sexual violence and their friends and family. It is estimated that at least 1 in 6 individuals will experience rape or sexual abuse in their lifetime. For many, the aftermath of sexual violence is isolating and devastating.
Canadian Child Abuse Hotlines:
Child Abuse Prevention: 310-1234 (no area code needed)
Child Abuse Resources For Canada:
Child Abuse Prevention Website - hotline and links for Canadian Child Abuse Resources.