What Is Child Abuse?

It shouldn't hurt to be a kid...

  • Child abuse is physical -- shaking, hitting, beating, burning, or biting a child.
  • Child abuse is emotional -- constantly blaming or putting down a child; excessive yelling, shaming.
  • Child abuse is sexual -- incest, any forced sexual activity, exposure to sexual stimulation not appropriate for the child's age.
  • Child abuse is neglect -- a pattern of failure to provide for the child's physical needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical care; a pattern of failure to provide for the child's emotional needs, such as affection, attention, and supervision.

Every one of us can help stop child abuse.

  • Help out a parent under stress with a few hours of child care or assistance with other chores.
  • Lend an ear to a parent or child in crisis.
  • Support programs that offer child care, parent education, family counseling, and child safety.
  • Call a Parental Stress program for resources and support.

(650) 327-3333
(408) 279-8228

  • If you suspect that a child has been abused
    • In cases of an immediate emergency, always call 911 for Law Enforcement intervention.
    • Where the situation is not an emergency needing the police, reports should be made to the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline in the following areas:

Report Suspected Child Abuse in Santa Clara County
24-hour toll-free hotline: 1-833-SCC-KIDS

Also see Making a Child Abuse Report

What are the Consequences of Child Abuse?

  • In an abusive environment, children are often expected to behave as if they are much older than they are.
  • Children are often "punished" for behavior they are too young to control.
  • Abusive parents do not know they have to teach the behavior they want the child to have. Punishing unwanted behavior is not enough.
  • Parents and caretakers often abuse children in response to their own anger and unhappiness. It may have no relationship to what the child is doing at the time.
  • Abused children
    • believe that they have no value.
    • believe that they cannot affect the world around them with good behavior.
    • feel angry and/or depressed.

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