Child abuse and neglect often occur in families under stress, in the middle of a crisis or at the "end of the rope." Child maltreatment can include the following:
Physical Abuse - the non-accidental injury to a child.
Sexual Abuse - any act of a sexual nature upon or with a child.
Neglect- the failure to act on behalf of a child.
More information for Mandated Reporters is also available.
Physical Abuse Indicators:
Unexplained, chronic or repeated bruising
Other unexplained or repeated injuries
Behavioral extremes (withdrawal, aggression, regression)
Excessive fear of the parent or caregiver
Unusual shyness, wariness of physical contact
Attempt to hide injuries
Depression, excessive crying
Antisocial behavior, such as substance abuse, truancy or running away
Sexual Abuse Indicators:
Somatic complaints, including pain and irritation of genitals
Sexually transmitted diseases
Bruises or bleeding from external genitals, vagina or anal region
Torn, stained or bloody underclothes
Frequent, unexplained sore throats, yeast or urinary infections
Poor peer relationships, inability to relate to children of the same age
Regressive behaviors, such as thumb sucking, bedwetting, fear of the dark
Sudden changes in behavior
Promiscuity or seductive behavior
Aggression or delinquency
Reluctance to participate in recreational activity
Recurrent nightmares, disturbed sleep patterns or fear of the dark
Sudden decline in school performance
In young children, preoccupation with his/her sexual organs, his/her parents' or other chidren's
Chronic uncleanliness or poor hygiene including lice, scabies, or severe or untreated diaper rash
Untreated illness or injury
Unsuitable clothing, missing key articles of clothing such as socks, shoes or a coat
Height and weight significantly below age level
Chronic hunger, tiredness or lethargy
Begging or collecting leftovers
Unusual school attendance (frequent or chronic absence, lateness, coming to school early or leaving late)
Assuming adult responsibilities
Vandalism or delinquency
Lack of food, heat or utilities in the house
Parent/caregiver uses food stamps to buy drugs
The child is outside late at night while the parent is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
The child is left home alone without supervision
If a child indicates that they are afraid to return home, call the appropriate Children Services agency or the local police immediately. For all other cases, follow the procedures below.
When making a report you should try to include the following information, although it is not required:
The name and address of the child you suspect is being abused or neglected
The age of the child
The name and address of the parents or caretakers
The name of the person you suspect is abusing or neglecting the child and the address if available
The reason you suspect the child is being abuse or neglected
Any other information which may be helpful to the investigation
With this information, contact the appropriate Children Services agency, which is determined by the county in which the custodial party resides. Click here for a directory of agencies by county.
In case of an emergency, dial 911. In non-emergency situations, you should contact your local public Children Services agency to make a report about the abuse. View a directory of agencies by county in Ohio.
If you need additional help determining what to do in the case of suspected abuse, call the Center for Family Safety and Healing at Nationwide Children's at (614) 722-3278.
How to respond to an abuse victim
CHOICES (link) offers a wide range of services for victims and survivors of domestic violence.