Child Abuse and Neglect - Topic Overview
If you think your child is in immediate danger, call
911 and get your child to a safe place and
stay there. This may be the home of a close friend or family member or a
domestic violence shelter. To find help in your area, call a trusted health
professional, a child abuse organization, or the police.
are worried about the way someone acts around your child, find a quiet time to
talk with the person alone. Help the person learn about child development
issues. If it is your partner, you could take a parenting class together. Plan
what you will do next if your concerns become more serious. Then follow through
with your plan.
How can you prevent child abuse and neglect?
protect your child from abuse:
- Listen to your child. Let him or her know it
is safe to talk about anything with you.
- Get to know your child's
friends and their families.
- Screen all caregivers, such as
babysitters and daycare centers. Find out what they know about child health,
child development, and child care. This may include getting permission for a
police background check.
- Teach your child the proper names for
the private parts of his or her body. Teach the difference between "good touch"
and "bad touch."
- Ask a family member
or friend to give you a break when you feel overwhelmed. Learn healthy ways to
manage stress. Look online for sources of information and support, such as
Get help if you have ever been a victim of abuse. A good place to
start is the Childhelp hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). You can
talk to a counselor for free without giving your name.
To help children in your area:
- Learn to recognize the signs of abuse and
neglect. For example, a child may not grow as expected, may be dirty or
unhealthy, or may seem fearful, anxious, or depressed.
- Know the
names of your neighbors and their children. Offer to help a new parent. Child
abuse becomes less likely if parents and caregivers feel
- Be an advocate for children. Support groups that help
parents at risk of abusing their children. Donate time, money, or goods to a
local domestic violence shelter.
- If you see abuse or neglect
happening, speak up. A child's life may depend on it.
Frequently Asked Questions