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Child Abuse

Transforming lives, one child at a time.

Did you know?

Each day in this country more than 2,300 children are confirmed as abused or neglected (Children’s Defense Fund, 2007). Tragically, it is estimated that three children die every day as a result of abuse. These children are of all races and genders, and come from various socioeconomic backgrounds. Child abuse does not discriminate. In 2006 there were 67,737 confirmed victims of child abuse or neglect in Texas, an increase of 10.3% from 2005 (Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, August 2007).

What is abuse?

Abuse is defined as mental, emotional, physical, or sexual injury to a child or failure to prevent such injury from occurring to a child.

What is neglect?

Neglect includes failure to provide a child with food, clothing, shelter, and medical care, and/or leaving a child in a situation where the child is at risk of harm.

Warning Signs

The following indicators, as listed by category, may pertain to more than one form of abuse or neglect.
According to Childhelp USA, the most common signs and symptoms are:

Physical Abuse

  • Unexplained burns, cuts, bruises, or welts in the shape of an object
  • Bite marks
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Problems in school
  • Fear of adults

Emotional Abuse

  • Apathy
  • Depression
  • Hostility or stress
  • Lack of concentration
  • Eating disorders

Sexual Abuse

  • Inappropriate interest or knowledge of sexual acts
  • Nightmares and bed wetting
  • Drastic changes in appetite
  • Overcompliance or excessive aggression
  • Fear of a particular person or family member

Neglect

  • Unsuitable clothing for weather
  • Dirty or unbathed
  • Extreme hunger
  • Apparent lack of supervision

How to report child abuse

Call the Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-252-5400. Be specific about your observations; tell exactly what happened and when. Record all injuries or incidents, including dates and time of day, and keep this information secured.
Your report is confidential and is not subject to public release under the Open Records Act. Your identity is kept confidential. If you have reason to suspect child abuse or neglect, but are not certain, please contact the hotline for more information. (Information on reporting abuse was provided by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.)