Physical child abuse is a serious problem. Here are some facts:
A report of child abuse happens every 10 seconds.
Five children die each day from child abuse. Most children who die from abuse are under 3 years old.
Most children are abused at home or by someone they know. They often love this person, or are afraid of them, so they do not tell anyone.
Child abuse can happen to a child of any race, religion, or economic status.
HELP AN ABUSED CHILD
Learn about the signs of child abuse. Recognize when a child might be abused. Get early help for abused children.
If you think a child is being abused, contact a health care provider, the police, or child protective services in your city, county or state.
Call 911 for any child in immediate danger because of abuse or neglect.
You can also call Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). Crisis counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Interpreters are available to help in 170 languages. The counselor on the phone can help you figure out what steps to take next. All calls are anonymous and confidential.
There are state and other government departments or agencies that are responsible for the protection of children younger than age 18. Child protection agencies usually make a decision whether the child should go into foster care or can return home. Child protection agencies generally make every effort to reunite families when possible. The system varies from state to state, but usually involves a family court or a court that handles child abuse cases.
Berkowitz CD, Stewart ST. Child maltreatment. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 66.
Dubowitz H, Lane WG. Abused and neglected children. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, Behrman RE, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 37.
Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.