Child abuse

Other names: Child maltreatment

Any intentional harm or mistreatment to a child under 18 years old is considered child abuse. Child abuse encompasses physical, sexual, emotional abuse, and neglect. Most commonly, child abuse is inflicted by someone the child knows and trusts, often a parent or other relative. If you suspect child abuse, report it to the proper authorities.


A child who's being abused may exhibit withdrawal from friends or usual activities, changes in behavior, depression, anxiety, frequent absences from school, rebellious behavior, among others. Specific signs depend on the type of abuse.


Physical Abuse Signs and Symptoms


Sexual Abuse Signs and Symptoms


Emotional Abuse Signs and Symptoms


Neglect Signs and Symptoms

Parental Behavior

Parental behaviors that may indicate child abuse include showing little concern for the child, harsh discipline methods, blaming the child for problems, and limiting the child's contact with others.

When to Seek Help

If you suspect a child is being abused, seek help immediately by contacting the appropriate authorities such as a local child protective agency or calling emergency services. Healthcare professionals are legally required to report suspected cases of child abuse.


Factors that may increase the risk of someone becoming abusive include a history of being abused as a child, mental illness, family crisis or stress, financial stress, poor understanding of parenting skills, and substance abuse.


Child abuse can have lifelong consequences leading to physical disabilities, behavioral issues like delinquency or violence, emotional problems such as low self-esteem, and mental disorders like depression and PTSD.

TREATMENTs and Drugs

Talk therapy can help abused children learn to trust again and manage distressing feelings. Therapy can also help parents learn healthy parenting strategies. Organizations like Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline can provide information and referrals.


Simple steps to protect children from exploitation include offering love and attention, teaching them about personal safety, supervising their activities closely, knowing their caregivers well, emphasizing saying no to uncomfortable situations, teaching online safety measures, and reaching out for support if needed.


If a child discloses abuse to you:

If the abuse has occurred at school, inform school authorities in addition to reporting it to the appropriate agencies.


  1. What are the different types of child abuse?

Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect.

  1. What are some signs of physical abuse in children?

Unexplained injuries, inconsistent explanations for injuries.

  1. How can parental behavior indicate potential child abuse?

Showing little concern for the child, harsh discipline methods.

  1. Who should you contact if you suspect a child is being abused?

Local child protective agency or emergency services.

  1. What are some risk factors for becoming an abusive individual?

History of being abused as a child, mental illness.

  1. How can talk therapy help children who have been abused?

It can help them learn to trust again and manage distressing feelings.

  1. What are some lifestyle strategies to protect children from exploitation?

Offering love and attention, teaching personal safety.

  1. What should you do if a child discloses abuse to you?

Encourage them to talk about it and reassure them it's not their fault.

  1. Why is early intervention important in cases of suspected child abuse?

It increases the chances of recovery for the child.

  1. How can you contribute to preventing child abuse in your community?

By knowing your child's caregivers well and emphasizing personal safety measures.