May is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

National Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect, and to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families. During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to share child abuse and neglect prevention awareness strategies and activities and promote prevention across the country.

Child Abuse is not pleasant to think about, but it happens.  Child abuse or neglect often takes place in the home at the hands of a person the child knows well—a parent, relative, babysitter, or friend of the family. There are four major types of child maltreatment. Although any of the forms may be found separately, they often occur together.

Each State is responsible for establishing its own definitions of child abuse and neglect that meet Federal minimum standards. Most include the following:

child abuse

What Are the Warning Signs? The first step in helping or getting help for an abused or neglected child is to identify the symptoms of abuse. The table on this page lists some symptoms of the four major types of child maltreatment. The presence of a single sign does not prove that child abuse is occurring in a family; however, when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination, you should consider the possibility of maltreatment.

Military families experience unique challenges that can affect family and home life. Child Welfare Information Gateway provides resources for working with military families on topics such as adoption, child abuse and neglect, prevention, deployment, domestic violence, and mental health stressors, as well as information on an array of services that are designed to support military families.

What Can I Do If I Suspect Child Abuse or Neglect? Anyone can and should report suspected child abuse or neglect. If you think a child is being mistreated, take immediate action. Most States have a toll-free number for reporting. You also can call the Childhelp® National Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.4.A.CHILD (1.800.422.4453).

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