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What is Abuse?
Abuse is mental, emotional, physical, or sexual injury to a child, or failure to prevent such injury.

What is Neglect?
Neglect of a child includes (1) failure to provide a child with food, clothing, shelter and/or medical care; and/or (2) leaving a child in a situation where the child is at risk of harm.

Physical Abuse:

when a parent or caregiver causes any non-accidental physical injury to a child.

Signs of Physical Abuse

  • Visible and Severe Injuries
  • Distinctive Shape
  • Bruises, Burns or Scalds, Bite Marks, Scarring, Fractures or Broken Bones
  • Frequency, timing, and history of injuries (frequent, after weekends, vacations, school absences)
  • Aggression toward peers, pets, other animals
  • Seems Afraid of Parents or Other Adults
  • Fear, Withdrawal, Depression, Anxiety, Nightmares, Insomnia
  • Immaturity, Acting out, Emotional and Behavior Extremes
  • Self-destructive Behavior or Attitudes

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.

Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Difficulty sitting, walking, bowel problems
  • Torn, stained, bloody undergarments
  • Bleeding, bruises, pain, swelling, itching of genital area
  • Any sexually transmitted disease or related symptoms
  • Withdrawn, Depressed, Anxious, Aggression
  • Eating disorders, Preoccupation with body
  • Poor Peer Relationships, Poor Self-Image, Poor Self-Care, Lack of Confidence
  • Sexual Acting Out, Excessive Masturbation, Sexual Behavior or Knowledge that is Advanced or Unusual
  • Reports Sexual Abuse

Emotional Abuse:

a parent or caregiver harms a child’s mental and social development, or causes severe emotional harm. While a single incident may be abuse, most often emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that causes damage over time.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

  • Developmental Delays
  • Wetting Bed, Pants
  • Speech Disorders
  • Health Problems (Ulcers, Skin Disorders, Obesity and Weight Fluctuation)
  • Overly Compliant or Defensive
  • Extremely Emotional, Aggressive, Withdrawn, Anxieties, Phobias, Sleep Disorders
  • Destructive or Anti-Social Behaviors (violence, cruelty, vandalism, stealing, cheating, lying)
  • Inappropriate Behavior for Age (Too Adult, Too Infantile)
  • Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors


when a parent or caregiver does not give the care, supervision, affection and support needed for a child’s health, safety and well-being.

Signs of Neglect

  • Often Hungry, Stockpiles or Seeks Food
  • May Show Signs of Malnutrition
  • Very Low Body Weight/Height for Age
  • Often Tired, Sleepy, Listless
  • Hygiene Problems, Body Odor
  • Untreated Medical and Dental Problems