Children's Safe Harbor
A Children's Advocacy Center



Types of Child Abuse

Sexual Abuse
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
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
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
Long periods with no supervision, abandonment, maternal deprivation, children from infancy to age eight left unattended, long delays in obtaining medical help for serious injury.


Essential Tips for Recognizing Warning Signs of Possible Child Abuse:

Physical Signs:

  • Unexpected bruises
  • Burns or fractures
  • Messy, neglected appearance
  • Loss of appetite; malnourishment
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Sexually transmitted diseases or frequent urinary tract infections

Behavioral Signs:

  • Sudden behavior changes
  • Unexplained anger and rebellion
  • Withdrawal, clinging, anxiety and depression
  • Fear of a certain person or place
  • Discomfort with physical contact
  • Sexually acting out behaviors
  • Suicidal tendencies


Did You Know?

  • 90% of children who face abuse or neglect are abused by a caregiver or someone they know, not a stranger.
  • 1 in 20 children have been physically abused in their lifetime.
  • Studies have suggested that up to one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they are eighteen years old.
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