What is child abuse?
Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. There are many forms of child maltreatment, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation and emotional abuse.
Read through the sections below on the different types of child abuse to learn the signs.
If you see these signs in anyone you know, or are a victim of child abuse, get help right away.
Physical abuse of a child is when a parent or caregiver causes any non-accidental physical injury to a child. There are many signs of physical abuse. If you see any of the following signs, please get help right away.
Sexual abuse occurs when an adult uses a child for sexual purposes or involves a child in sexual acts. It also includes when a child who is older or more powerful uses another child for sexual gratification or excitement.
When a parent or caregiver harms a child’s mental and social development, or causes severe emotional harm, it is considered emotional abuse. While a single incident may be abuse, most often emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that causes damage over time.
Child neglect is when a parent or caregiver does not give the care, supervision, affection and support needed for a child’s health, safety and well-being.
If you see any signs of abuse in someone you know, or if you yourself are involved in an abusive relationship, get help right away. The Child Support Unit has a 24-hour hotline with resources to help every child abuse situation. All calls are confidential. Call 4322626