To Report Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect, Call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96ABUSE or 1-800-962-2873.
About Child Abuse
Child abuse is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 4. Abuse ranges from physical, sexual or emotional and includes neglect.
Any non-accidental injury to a child. This includes hitting, kicking, slapping, shaking, burning, pinching, hair pulling, biting, choking, throwing, showing, whipping and paddling. Any mark, bruise, cut, burn or other injury to a child caused by the non-accidental actions of a person.
Potential Signs of Physical Abuse:
- Unexplained burns, bruises, black eyes or other injuries
- Apparent fear of a parent of caretaker
- Faded bruises or healing injuries after missing school
- Extreme levels of aggression or withdrawal, may bully other children
- Hypersensitivity to touch- may flinch when someone raises their hand in the air above them or reaches out to them Intentional cruelty to animals
Any sexual act between an adult and a child. This includes fondling, penetration, intercourse, exploitation, pornography, exhibitionism, child prostitution, group sex, oral sex, or forced observation of sexual acts. Sometimes older children molest younger children. Sexual acts between children become molestation when one child uses coercion, force or violation to get the other child to participate in the sexual acts.
Potential Signs of Sexual Abuse:
- Difficulty walking, sitting or other indications of injury in the genital area
- Sexual knowledge or behavior beyond what is normal for the child's age
- Running away from home
- Excessive aggression or withdrawal
- Resistant to changing clothes, strange dressing habits such as wearing two pairs of underwear or none at all
Any attitude or behavior that interferes with a child's mental health or social development. This concludes yelling, screaming, name-calling, shaming, negative comparisons to others, telling them they are "bad, no good, worthless" or "a mistake." It also includes failure to provide the affection and support necessary for the development of a child's emotional, social, physical and intellectual well-being. This includes ignoring the child, lack of appropriate physical affections (hugs), not saying, "I love you," withdrawal of attention, lack of praise and lack of positive reinforcement.
Potential Signs of Emotional Abuse:
- Acting overly mature or immature for the child's age
- Extreme changes in behavior
- Excessive desire to please adults or no desire to please adults
- Impaired functioning with social activities, sleep, eating or toilet-training
- Shows physical signs of anxiety or depression, i.e. pulling out hair, nervous tics
- Overly suspicious, untrusting, phobic or pessimistic
Failure to provide a child's physical needs. This includes lack of supervision, inappropriate housing or shelter, inadequate provision of food, inappropriate clothing for season or weather, abandonment, denial of medical care and inadequate hygiene.
Potential Signs of Neglect:
- Missing a lot of school
- Begging for or stealing money or food
- Lacking needed medical or dental care
- Frequently dirty
- Using alcohol or other drugs
- Indicating there is no supervision at home
Some Child Abuse Statistics
Child abuse is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 4.
Seminole County Child Protective Services receives approximately 4,000 reports of suspected child abuse each year.
80% of fatal head injuries in children under the age of 2 are non-accidental.
1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18.
In the United States 3 million reports of possible abuse are reported to Child Protective Services each year, involving 5 million children.
More than 100,000 children are maltreated each year in the State of Florida.
Kids House of Seminole, Inc. Children's Advocacy Center helps more than 2,000 children each year, find healing and hope.