What is Child Abuse?
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline Call 1-800-422-4453 (24/7)
Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect in Federal Law
Federal legislation provides guidance to States by identifying a minimum set of acts or behaviors that define child abuse and neglect. The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g), as amended by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum:
"Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation"; or
"An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm."
This definition of child abuse and neglect refers specifically to parents and other caregivers. A "child" under this definition generally means a person who is younger than age 18 or who is not an emancipated minor.
While CAPTA provides definitions for sexual abuse and the special cases of neglect related to withholding or failing to provide medically indicated treatment, it does not provide specific definitions for other types of maltreatment such as physical abuse, neglect, or emotional abuse.
While Federal legislation sets minimum standards for States that accept CAPTA funding, each State provides its own definitions of maltreatment within civil and criminal statutes.
According to the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
Child Abuse & Neglect Statistics
These resources present statistics and data on the different types of abuse and neglect as well as the abuse and neglect of children with disabilities, abuse and neglect in out-of-home care, recurrence, and fatalities.
Because time is needed to compile, analyze, and publish data, statistical publications often are released 2 or more years after the time period being analyzed. Information Gateway makes every effort to ensure the resources provided are the most current statistics available.
HELP AND HOTLINES:
Need help? Call a hotline and talk to someone.
If your parent or caretaker is abusing you, you deserve better. It's not your fault. There are people that can help you and your situation can get better, but only if the adult gets help and is held accountable for his/her action. Again, it is not your fault.
Toll-Free Crisis Hotline Numbers provided by Child Welfare:
Phone: 800.4.A.CHILD (800.422.4453)
Whom They Help: Child abuse victims, parents, concerned individuals
Child Sexual Abuse
Phone: 866.FOR.LIGHT (866.367.5444)
Whom They Help: Children and adults needing local information or resources about sexual abuse
Domestic Violence Hotline
Phone: 800.799.SAFE (800.799.7233)
Whom They Help: Children, parents, friends, offenders
Help for Parents
Phone: 855.4APARENT (855.427.2736) (available 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., PST, weekdays)
Whom They Help: Parents and caregivers needing emotional support and links to resources
Human Trafficking Hotline
Whom They Help: Victims of human trafficking and those reporting potential trafficking situations
Alliance on Mental Illness
Phone: 800.950.NAMI (800.950.6264)
Whom They Help: Individuals, families, professionals
Find of America
Phone: 800.I.AM.LOST (800.426.5678)
Whom They Help: Parents reporting lost or abducted children, including parental abductions
Find of America—Mediation
Phone: 800.A.WAY.OUT (800.292.9688)
Whom They Help: Parents (abduction, prevention, child custody issues)
Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Phone: 800.THE.LOST (800.843.5678)
Whom They Help: Families and professionals (social services, law enforcement)
Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
Phone: 800.656.HOPE (800.656.4673)
Whom They Help: Rape and incest victims, media, policymakers, concerned individuals
Alcohol and Substance Abuse Information Center
Whom They Help: Families, professionals, media, policymakers, concerned individuals
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Whom They Help: Families, concerned individuals
Youth in Trouble/Runaways
Phone: 800.RUNAWAY (800.786.2929)
Whom They Help: Runaway and homeless youth, families