Child Abuse: Child abuse takes place when a child is harmed by someone else physically, psychologically, or by acts of neglect.
Physical abuse occurs when a caretaker allows or inflicts non-accidental physical injury that causes a substantial risk to the child's physical well-being and health. Physical injuries may include burns, bruises, welts, broken bones, or internal injuries.
Indicators of Physical Abuse:
- Obvious attempts to hide bruises/injuries
- Excessive school absenteeism
- Excessive fear of parents/caretakers
Psychological abuse is a pattern of behavior that retards a child's development and sense of self-worth by conveying to the child that they are worthless, flawed, unloved, or unwanted. Psychological abuse may include insults, constant criticism, harsh demands, threats, and yelling.
Indicators of Psychological Abuse:
- Dramatic behavioral changes, such as defiance, aggressiveness, compulsively seeking attention/affection.
- Lack of self-confidence
- Lags in physical development/failure to thrive
- Inappropriately adult-like/infantile
Neglect is the leading form of child abuse in the United States and occurs when a caretaker fails to provide for a child's basic needs which include adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care, or safekeeping. As a result of such treatment, the child's physical, mental, or emotional development is impaired.
Indicators of Neglect:
- Underweight, poor growth pattern
- Constant lack of supervision
- Poor hygiene
- Low academic achievement
Learn more about the laws in your state through RAINN's state database.