Reporting child abuse is everyone’s responsibility. Children need us to pay attention to some of the common warning signs of child abuse and neglect. If you suspect that a child is being abused please call the local department of social services in your area. Click here for all the addresses for social services offices in your area.
For more information about Child Protective Services click here.
Abuse of the elderly is a crime. Click here to report Adult or Elder Abuse.
A child might be potentially experiencing physical abuse if he or she:
- Has frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts
- Is always watchful and “on alert”, as if waiting for something bad to happen
- Have injuries that appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt
- Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home
- Wears inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries, such as long-sleeved shirts on hot days
A child might be potentially neglected if he or she:
- Wears clothes that are ill-fitting, filthy, or inappropriate for the weather
- Has consistently poor hygiene is (un-bathed, matted and unwashed hair, noticeable body odor)
- Has untreated illnesses and or physical injuries
- Is frequently unsupervised, [or] left alone, or allowed to play in unsafe situations and environments
- Is frequently late or missing from school
A child might be potentially experiencing sexual abuse if he or she:
- Has trouble walking or sitting
- Makes strong efforts to avoid a specific person, without an obvious reason
- Doesn’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities
- Has an STD or becomes pregnant, especially if under age 14
- Runs away from home
A child might be potentially showing the signs of mental injury if he or she:
- Is excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong
- Shows extremes in behavior (extremely compliant or extremely demanding; extremely passive or extremely aggressive)
- Doesn’t seem to be attached to the parent or caregiver
- Acts either inappropriately like an adult (taking care of other children) or inappropriately like an infant (rocking, thumb-sucking, tantrums)
Warning signs do not automatically mean a child is being abused. However, such signs may draw your attention to the child and the child’s situation and reveal additional warning signs.