700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

If You See Abuse Follow the 3 Rs

Sep 14, 2023
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Anyone can be a victim of family violence. It occurs in all types of relationships, and it involves people of all ages, races, religions, financial status, sexual orientation and education. Family violence is an umbrella term for child maltreatment and neglect, teen dating abuse, domestic violence and elder abuse. Did you know:

  • A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds.
  • 1 in 3 girls is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
  • In nearly two-thirds of elder abuse and neglect cases, the abuser is a family member (adult children or spouses).

Family violence is very common. We all likely know or will know someone who is directly impacted by abuse. We all play a role in breaking the cycle of family violence and abuse. This begins by following the three Rs – Recognize, Respond and Refer.


Recognize the signs and behaviors of abuse. Abuse can be physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, financial, digital or resource restrictive. All types of abuse have a commonality: power and control. LoveIsRespect created a Power and Control Wheel, which is a tool to explain different ways someone can use power and control to manipulate an intimate partnership. Children who are being abused or neglected, may display specific indicators.


You can do your part as an active bystander by responding appropriately to abuse. Try to remain calm and pay attention to your body language. You may not have all of the answers – and that’s okay. If someone discloses abuse, start with believing them. It's important to consider your own safety first, as well as the safety of others when you feel that a situation may escalate and become violent or dangerous. In an emergency, it is appropriate to call 911.


Refer to resources. There are many resources available, both local and national, to help victims of abuse. For example, if you suspect child abuse and neglect, did you know that anyone can make a report anonymously to a child protective service agency by calling 1-800-422-4453. If you know a teen or young adult who might be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, they can check out loveisrespect where advocates are available 24/7 via 1-866-331-9474, text "loveis" to 22522 or live chat at loveisrespect.org.

If you know an adult in your life who is trying to leave an abusive relationship, but isn't sure where to start, you can refer them to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, text “START” to 88788 or live chat at thehotline.org. Advocates are available 24/7 to provide answers to questions, help with safety planning and more.

We all play a role in breaking the cycle of family violence and abuse. There are many resources available to victims and bystanders. The Center for Family Safety and Healing houses local and national resources about family violence all in one place. View the full list here.

Featured Expert

NCH Blog Author
Tamara Mapp
The Center for Family Safety and Healing

Tamara Mapp is the Director of Program Development and Implementation at The Center for Family Safety and Healing (TCFSH). She oversees staff members for home visitation, child assessment center, fostering connections and adult services. She also provides administrative support to behavioral health and research at TCFSH. Tamara is also responsible for various grants and programs that support the work of the organization. 

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.