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Child abuse includes physical, sexual, psychological/emotional abuse, and/or caregiver neglect against a minor 18 years or younger, though the definition varies by state. It can be perpetrated by family members, caregivers, trusted individuals, or strangers.
What is Child Abuse?
While this list isn’t exhaustive, you may be a victim of child abuse if someone:
- Hits, shoves, strangles, or otherwise hurts you
- Threatens to injure you
- Touches you or forces you to do sexual things you do not want to do
- Intentionally scares you
- Yells at you or calls you names
- Abandons you or neglects you by failing to provide the medicine, food, and care you need from them
What can I do?
While there is no universal set of steps that will work for everyone, these actions may be of assistance to you:
- Call 911 for Immediate Assistance – You know yourself and your situation better than anyone. Trust your instincts and call for help if you feel you are in danger.
- Alert Others – Tell trusted adults, teachers, doctors, or family members that you need are in need of help.
- Locate Resources in Your Community—Call The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 to locate supportive resources in your community.
- Report the Abuse—Your local Child Protective Services agency may be able to help by investigating your situation and connecting you to local support services or law enforcement. Find out more about this process in your state by clicking here.
- Stay Connected– Friends and family members that you trust can be supports to you if you are experiencing abuse, neglect, or maltreatment.
- Create a Safety Plan – Develop a personalized plan to keep yourself safe. Find help doing this here or connect with an advocate for assistance.
Contact the DC Victim Hotline by phone at 1-844-443-5732 or by chat for more information or assistance in locating services that can help you or a loved one after experiencing child abuse.