Examples of Child Abuse

The web is full of a lot of crap about child abuse; people still follow outdated ideas that we need to use physical pain to punish.  But this page has clear guidance on what is child abuse.  For example:

Injury from abuse is most often located on the following areas:

Head and neck area (This area is vulnerable to injury because of a child’s small stature…it may be the closest body part to an adult’s hand or fist. Also, it is often targeted as it is where the crying, back talk, sass, bad language, etc. is emanating from.

The area of the head covered by hair may be targeted as the hair covers any bruising or lumps).

…….Examples of Physical Neglect

Lack of adequate shelter: Unsanitary conditions (garbage, spoiled food, excrement)

Failure to Protect

  • Failure of parent or caretaker to protect child from known situations of child abuse in any of its forms


Behavioral Indicators of Physical Neglect:

–Hoards food

……Emotional Abuse—California Penal Code Section 11166&b;

Emotional abuse is defined as when a person causes or permits a child to suffer unjustifiable or significant mental suffering.

Emotional Abuse—Federal Guidelines

  • Acts or omissions by parents or caretakers that have caused, or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional or mental disorders.
  • Some acts, do not leave evident harm to the child but warrant reporting, such as extreme or bizarre forms of punishment, such as locking a child in a closet.
  • Emotional abuse is almost always present when other forms of abuse are identified

Emotional Abuse

  • Belittling
  • Blaming
  • Sarcasm
  • Screaming
  • Humiliation
  • Threatening
  • Unpredictable responses
  • Child exposed to domestic violence
  • Child placed in restraints, caged or severe confinement [the parent told me he put them in a closet]

Indicators of Emotional Abuse in the Parent

  • Has unrealistic expectations of the child – developmentally, educationally or emotionally
  • Enforces unusual penalties or vaguely sinister punishment – it is one thing to place a child in time-out in their room for five minutes, and another to place a child in time-out in a locked closet for five minutes

Trust your instincts.  Make that report!


Even forms of physical punishment that do not result in physical injury are considered physical abuse and are outlawed in some states.

For example, in Arkansas, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia, hitting a child with a closed fist is considered physical abuse. In Arkansas, hitting a child on the face or head is also called physical abuse. –The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Child Physical Abuse Fact Sheet

Help prevent shaken baby syndrome

  • Never shake a baby. Also, do not slap or hit a child of any age on the face or head. A child’s brain is very delicate.  Shaking, slapping, or hitting a child can cause serious harm, even though it may not leave any obvious sign of injury. –Healthwise staff, Shaken Baby Syndrome: Home Treatment


Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect (state-by-state)


Also see Don’t smack your kids: Research into teenage football concussions, Child AbuseHitting Kids Upside the Head is ABUSE, …Because slapping kids on the head is ABUSE!  STOP THE VIOLENCE! and Slapping Kids Upside the Head Causes Traumatic Brain Injury.