How to Stop Child Abuse

See something, say something. But what does that really mean? We have the power to stop child abuse by learning how to recognize and report red flags.

What is child abuse?

Child abuse can be defined as any physical, mental, emotional, psychological, or sexual harm or risk to a child’s health or welfare. Any act or failure to act on the part of a person which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation of a child.

Child abuse is more common than most people think: it is estimated that at least 1 in 7 children in the United States are subjected to abuse or neglect every year.*

How do I recognize child abuse?

Knowing how to spot the signs of abuse can help us to become responsible bystanders and create safer communities for our children and youth. The following are some signs that a child is being abused:

  • Being frequently unwashed or hungry
  • Having untreated injuries in different stages of healing
  • Frequently being late to or missing school
  • Exhibiting violent behaviors
  • Withdrawing in response to physical actions
  • Isolating from peers
  • Inappropriate sexual knowledge or behaviors

How do I report child abuse?

If you have reasonable belief that a child is being abused, report it immediately to relevant authorities:

  • Call 9-1-1 if life is in danger.
  • Call or Text 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
  • LIVE CHAT with a trained counselor at the Child Help Hotline

Learn more about your state’s mandated reporting laws here. You can stop child abuse and might just save a child’s life!

Compass provides comprehensive child abuse prevention programs and background checks for organizations of all sizes to stop child abuse. Explore low-cost child abuse prevention training programs by Compass Child Protection.  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.(2022). Health and Economic Costs of Chronic Diseases. Available from