What Is Child Abuse?

Sexual Abuse is when someone uses a child to meet his or her own needs. It can include any sexual contact, non physical sexual interaction, or sexual exploitation of an infant, child or adolescent. Sexual abuse may consist of numerous acts over a long period of time or a single incident. Sexual abuse includes vaginal intercourse, sodomy, fondling, exposing oneself, asking a child to engage in sexual acts, oral copulation, and any penetration of the genital or oral opening, suggestive talk, exposing a child to sex or pornography, or exploiting a child through pornography.

Physical Abuse is the non-accidental infliction of physical injury to a child. Physical abuse may involve the use of whips, paddles, switches, and extension cords as well as battering and kicking. Injuries to a child may consist of bruises, scars, red marks, burns, bites, welts, strangulation, internal injuries, broken bones or death.

Emotional Abuse is any chronic or persistent act by an adult that endangers the mental health or emotional development of a child including rejection, ignoring, terrorizing, corrupting, constant criticism, insults, giving little or no guidance or support.

Severe Neglect includes long periods with no supervision, abandonment, maternal deprivation, children from infancy to age eight left unattended and long delays in obtaining medical help for serious injury.