To Report Abuse
Call 1-800-25-ABUSE (800-252-2873)

Recognizing Abuse

Child Abuse consists of any act, or failure to act that endangers a child’s physical or emotional health and development. Someone is abusive if he or she fails to nurture the child, physically injures the child, or relates sexually to the child.

The four major types of child abuse are:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Neglect

To recognize abuse, look for the following:

  • Heightened fear or anxiety
  • Increased tearfulness or crying
  • Changes in appetite
  • Irritability, anger, mood changes
  • Withdrawal from usual activities and friends
  • Isolation
  • Changes in sleeping patterns such as nightmares, bedwetting, fear of going to bed, fear of sleeping alone
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Clinging to parents or other caregivers
  • Aggressiveness
  • Rebelliousness
  • Unusual interest or knowledge of sexual acts and language
  • Acting out sexual behavior or excessive masturbation
  • Change in school performance such as lower grades, poor concentration, short attention span, loss of interest in school activities

Children react differently to the abuse depending on age, extent of abuse, support from others, and their relationship with the offender.  The single most important factor affecting your child’s recovery is the level of support they receive from you.

Warning Signs of Online Abuse:

  • Your child receives mail, gifts or packages from someone you don’t know
  • Your child becomes withdrawn from the family
  • Your child is using an online account belonging to someone else

Other Important Facts:

  • A child abuse report is made every 10 seconds
  • Four children die every day as a result of child abuse and 3 out of 4 are under the age of 4
  • One Third of abused or neglected children will later abuse their own children
  • 1 in every 4 girls and 1 in every 6 boys are sexually abused by the age of 18
  • 30-40% of victims are sexually abused by a family member
  • Another 50% are abused by someone outside of family whom they know and trust

Additional Resources

Abused Children as Adults

Growing up is difficult for victims of abuse. Abused children face strong triggers for memories of what happened to them when they become adults and have their own families. These repressed and often traumatizing memories can be overwhelming but there are strategies to adapt and heal.

You can read more about the adult after effects of abuse here:

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