Child abuse can take many different forms, including physical, sexual, or emotional maltreatment of children. Child abuse also may include neglect, exposure to domestic violence, and exposure to substance abuse.
Neglect is the most common form of child abuse. Neglect is when a child’s basic needs for food, housing, health care and warm clothing are not met.
Child sexual abuse can include any kind of sexual act directed toward a child by an adult or by an older or more powerful child.
Child physical abuse is the inflicting of physical injury upon a child. Sometimes physical abuse happens even when parents did not intend to cause an injury. Physical abuse may include burning, hitting, punching, shaking, kicking, beating, or otherwise harming a child.
Emotional abuse includes acts or the failures to act by parents or caretakers that have caused or could cause serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional or mental disorders.
Exposure to family violence between adults in a child’s home can be harmful to children. It can include witnessing or being aware of violence happening between adults in the home. Exposure to substance abuse, such as drugs or alcohol by parents and other caregivers, also can have negative effects on the health, safety, and well-being of children.