GET HELP

If you or someone you know may be experiencing abuse or neglect, please call the Childhelp® National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) or visit childhelp.org/hotline/ for help. Anyone can report suspected child abuse or neglect, and reporting can save a child's life. For state-specific info, visit Childwelfare.gov. Your call can protect a child and get help for a family.


If you are an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse or have been sexually assaulted as an adult, these resources may be helpful:

  • National Sexual Assault Hotline – 800-656-HOPE (4673) -- Connects you with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area
  • Online.rainn.org – Free online counseling
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 800-273-TALK (8255) or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  • Search for your local sexual assault service provider: https://centers.rainn.org/

According to Childwelfare.gov’s Child Welfare Information Gateway, some signs that a child may be experiencing abuse or neglect include:

  • Sudden changes in behavior or school performance
  • Unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones or black eyes
  • Fading bruises or other marks noticeable after an absence from school
  • Seems frightened of parents and protests or cries when it is time to go home
  • Shrinks at the approach of adults
  • Abuses animals or pets
  • Is frequently absent from school
  • Begs or steals food or money
  • Is overly compliant, passive or withdrawn
  • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late and does not want to go home
  • Is reluctant to be around a particular person
  • Shows extremes in behavior, such as overly compliant or demanding behavior, extreme passivity or aggression
  • Is either inappropriately adult (parenting other children, for example) or inappropriately infantile (frequently rocking or head-banging, for example)
  • Is delayed in physical or emotional development
  • Has attempted suicide
  • Lacks needed medical or dental care, immunizations or glasses
  • Is consistently dirty and has severe body odor
  • Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather
  • Abuses alcohol or other drugs
  • States that there is no one at home to provide care
  • Has difficulty walking or sitting
  • Suddenly refuses to change for gym or to participate in physical activities
  • Reports nightmares or bedwetting
  • Experiences a sudden change in appetite
  • Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior
  • Becomes pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, particularly if under age 14
  • Runs away
  • Attaches very quickly to strangers or new adults in their environment
  • Reports maltreatment, injury or sexual abuse by a parent or another adult caregiver
  • Reports a lack of attachment to the parent

This list may not be all the signs of abuse or neglect; it’s important to pay attention to other behaviors that may seem unusual or concerning. Child Welfare Information Gateway also provides information on the risk factors and perpetrators of child abuse and neglect fatalities at Childwelfare.gov.