What is child abuse?
Although there are many formal and acceptable definitions of child abuse, the following is offered as a guide for information on child abuse and neglect.
Child abuse consists of any act of commission or omission that endangers or impairs a child's physical or emotional health and development. Child abuse includes any damage done to a child which cannot be reasonably explained and which is often represented by an injury or series of injuries appearing to be non-accidental in nature.
What do I do if I think someone is abusing a child?
If a child discloses that he or she has been abused by someone, it is important that you listen to them most of all.
• Ask leading questions (a question that suggests the answer or contains the information the questioner is looking for – That man touched you, didn’t he?)
• Make promises
• Notify the parents or the caretaker
• Provide a safe environment
• Tell the child it was not his/her fault
• Listen carefully
• Document the child’s exact quotes
• Be supportive, not judgmental
• Know your limits
• Tell the truth and make no promises
• Ask ONLY four questions
• What happened?
• Who did this to you?
• Where were you when this happened?
• When did this happen?
• Call your local law enforcement agency
• Call your local Child Protective Services
Forms of Child Abuse
Physical abuse - Any non-accidental injury to a child. This includes hitting, kicking, slapping, shaking, burning, pinching, hair pulling, biting, choking, throwing, shoving, whipping, and paddling.
Sexual abuse - Any sexual act between an adult and child. This includes fondling, penetration, intercourse, exploitation, pornography, exhibitionism, child prostitution, group sex, oral sex, or forced observation of sexual acts.
Neglect - Failure to provide for a child's physical needs. This includes lack of supervision, inappropriate housing or shelter, inadequate provision of food, inappropriate clothing for season or weather, abandonment, denial of medical care, and inadequate hygiene.
Emotional abuse - Any attitude or behavior which interferes with a child's mental health or social development. This includes yelling, screaming, name-calling, shaming, negative comparisons to others, telling them they are "bad, no good, worthless" or "a mistake". It also includes the failure to provide the affection and support necessary for the development of a child's emotional, social, physical and intellectual well-being. This includes ignoring, lack of appropriate physical affection (hugs), not saying "I love you", withdrawal of attention, lack of praise, and lack of positive reinforcement.
Child Abuse Help Websites
Devoted to preventing cruelty, abuse, neglect, and exploitation of children and animals.
Children's Defense Fund (CDF)
CDF represents America's children, particularly low-income, minority, and disabled children. CDF goals are to educate the Nation regarding the needs of children and to encourage preventive investments in children.
Childhelp® is dedicated to the treatment and prevention of child abuse. The Web site includes information on nationwide facilities, helpful links, Childhelp programs, the
National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD), and child abuse reports.
Children's Action Alliance
Helps promote the well-being of children and their families through research, policy development, media campaigns and advocacy.
Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website
This online, searchable database of sex offenders is the result of a cooperative effort between the state agencies hosting public sexual offender registries and the Federal Government. The Federal site centralizes the different sex offender registries built and maintained by State and territories and provides real-time access to public sex offender data nationwide with a single Internet search.
Focus Adolescent Services
Resources on Teen and Family Issues. Topics include anger and violence; self injury such as carving, branding and marking; and abuse.
G.W. Medical Publishing
G.W. Medical Publishing is a leading clinical and forensic publisher serving the medical, legal, social service, and law enforcement communities with the resources they need to combat child abuse, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, child trafficking, and other maltreatment.
Jacob Wetterling Foundation
The Foundation works to protect children from sexual exploitation and abduction. The Web site provides information in sections tailored to parents and caregivers, educators and community leaders, kids, and teens.
Kempe Children's Center
The Center provides fundraising, education, parental resources, clinical services, research, and advocacy efforts to end child abuse and neglect.
LOCATER®, Lost Child Alert Technology Resource
LOCATER, a national program from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to distribute advanced computer systems and a cutting-edge web-based program to law enforcement agencies to rapidly distribute images and information about missing-child cases in poster formats.
Life Prints Child Protection Technology
Life-Prints' mission is to provide the most advanced technology to the Child/Infant ID market, by developing and supporting proprietary, user-friendly software that interfaces with state-of-art equipment, with levels of customer support unattainable elsewhere.
A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
The Center works to locate and recover missing children and raises public awareness about ways to prevent child abduction, molestation, and sexual exploitation. NCMEC offers a 24-hour, toll-free hotline,1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678, TDD: 800-826-7653), a CyberTipline to collect leads from the public, and a Web site that details all of their services, including their LOCATER® program for distributing resources to speed the dissemination of posters of missing children.
National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (NCASAA)
NCASAA provides advocacy, public education, and resources for CASA
Prevent Child Abuse America
Dedicated to providing information on child abuse and inspiring hope to everyone involved in the effort to prevent the abuse and neglect of children.
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
RAINN operates a 24-hour telephone hotline (1-800-656-HOPE) and an Online Hotline for victims of sexual assault. The secure web-based hotline provides a safe, secure, and anonymous place for victims to get help online. RAINN also works to promote education and prevention of sexual assault, compiles and shares links to Legal Resources, including the State Mandatory Regulations regarding children and the elderly.
Stand for Children
Advocate for improvements to and funding for programs that give every child a fair chance in life.
State Sex Offender Registries
Registered sex offenders, listed by state.
Created by The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media, TeensHealth provides teens and families with up-to-date, jargon-free advice about health, relationships, and growing up. Topics include issues such as depression and self-cutting, abuse in the family, and safety basics such as internet safety.
Witness Justice provides trauma victims and their loved ones with resources that promote physical, psychological, and spiritual healing. The site features access to experts, message boards, and other print and electronic victim resources.
Zero to Three
Publications, reference guides to programs, projects and professional developmental services promoting the healthy development of our nation's infants and toddlers.
Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
ACF promotes the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. Through its Children's Bureau, ACF assists states in the delivery of child welfare services. Its Web site presents related initiatives, statistics, ACF programs, funding, and information systems.
Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (ASCA)
ASCA helps survivors of child abuse transform their self-identities from that of victim to that of survivor and, ultimately, thriver. The site includes resource materials and guidelines for establishing ASCA support networks.
Center for Effective Parenting
Provides helpful parenting information.
Network of parent-led self-help groups where parents and caregivers can share ideas, celebrate successes, and address the challenges surrounding parenting.
Family and Marriage Counseling Directory
Articles, resources, and databases for finding family and marriage counselors.
Articles and information on child abuse and other topics for new parents.
The nation's oldest for information on child abuse prevention.
Child Abuse Data Websites
Source for the latest national trends and research on over 100 key indicators of child and youth well-being.
National Data Archive on Child Abuse
Exchange among researched in child maltreatment field.
America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being
Find statistics on family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education and health
Health Website for Children
KidsHealth is the #1 most-visited website for children's health and development
WebMD provides valuable health information, tools for managing your health, and support to those who seek information
BAM! Body and Mind
Answers kids' questions on health issues, and recommends ways to make their bodies and minds healthier, stronger, and safer.
Provides information for teens on staying healthy.
Includes health information for parents and young people aged 12-25 years.
Campaign For Our Children
A nonprofit, abstinence-based teen pregnancy prevention program.
Internet Safety Tips
• When asked by friends or strangers, online or offline, never share Account IDs and Passwords.
• Don't reveal any personal identity information in your Screen Names, such as your birthday, hobbies, hometown or school.
• In any information exchange, like e-mail or chat, never give any personal information about yourself or someone else.
• Don't share photos of yourself, your family, or your home with people you meet online.
• Never open e-mails that come from unknown sources - DELETE them.
• If you receive mean or threatening comments online, don't respond. Log off and report the activity to your parents.
• Nothing you write on the Web is completely private. Be careful what you write and to whom.
• Never make plans to meet an online "friend" in person.
• WHEN IN DOUBT: Always ask your parents for help. If you're not sure, log off.
Adapted from Disney.com
Tips for Parents
• Keep computer in family area to better monitor your child’s activity
• Regularly spend time online with your child to learn about his or her interests and activities
• Teach your child to end any experience online when he or she feels uncomfortable or scared by pressing the back key, logging off, and telling a trusted adult as soon as possible
• Establish an atmosphere of trust and understanding with your child by not blaming him or her for uncomfortable online experiences
• Discuss the difference between advertising and educational or entertaining content and show your child examples of each
• Show your child the difference between sources of information that are credible and those that are not
• Teach your child to never give out personal information unless he or she has your permission and you know how and by whom the information will be used
• Establish strict rules for ordering products (and then monitor credit card bills)
• “Talk back” to Internet Service Providers and content creators to let them know what you want and expect from them in keeping kids safe online
Adapted from ChildrensPartnership.org
Website to Keep Kids Safe
Search Engine for Children - This site contains over 20,000 child-safe sites, and over 4,000 categories including the arts, computers, directories, entertainment, games, health, news, people, pre-school, school time, sports, hobbies, and family.
Cyber Safety - this website is dedicated to keeping kids safe in a wired world. In this day and age of computers, there is a great need for resources for parents, educators and children for staying safe online. Knowing the dangers helps prevent children from being harmed, and knowing what to do online to keep safe is a must.