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Although many don’t realize it, thousands of people are abused and neglected everyday, often by the people who are closest to them like family, friends, sitters, neighbors, teachers, and coaches.
If you or someone you know is being abused or neglected, you can call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at:
1 – 800 – 422 – 4453
(push 1 to talk to a counselor)
The HotLine counselors are there 365 days a year to help those who are worried about a situation of abuse or neglect. The call is free and anonymous. (The Hotline counselors don’t know who you are and you don’t have to tell them.) You can call this number if you live in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Hotline counselor will not tape the telephone conversation or ask for your name (unless you ask to have literature mailed to you).
If you aren’t sure what abuse is…
What Is Abuse?
Abuse simply put, is when one person causes physical, sexual or emotional injury or harm to another. Federal law defines it as: Any act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or, an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.
This abuse is usually the most easily identified. It can include any kind of non-accidental hitting, shaking, burning, biting, choking, throwing, or any behaviors that cause physical injury, leave marks, or create significant pain.
Sexual abuse is any type of sexual contact between an adult and anyone younger than 18, or between a significantly older child and a younger child. This includes penetration or external touching of intimate parts, oral sex, indecent exposure or any other sexual act performed in your presence for sexual gratification. It can also include the showing of pornography to someone younger than 18.
Emotional & Verbal Abuse
Emotional abuse happens when yelling and anger go too far or when parents constantly criticize, threaten, or dismiss kids or teens until their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth are damaged. It also includes constant family conflict. Emotional abuse can hurt and cause major damage just as physical or sexually abuse does.
You are considered to be neglected when your parent’s whereabouts are unknown, if you’ve been left alone in circumstances where you suffer serious harm, or your parent has failed to maintain contact with you. This also happens when you don’t have adequate food, housing, clothes, or medical care.