Children & Youth Offices

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Reporting Child Abuse

Mandated Reporters

Types of Abuse

How to Report Child Abuse

Obtaining Clearances

Types of Abuse

Physical Abuse

This is when a child is purposely hurt through hitting, kicking, shaking, biting or similar actions.
Physical signs include unusual or unexplained bruises, welts, cuts or other injuries; broken bones and burns.

Behavioral signs may include wearing clothing that is inappropriate for the weather to hide injuries; seeming withdrawn or depressed; seeming afraid to go home; shying away from physical contact and showing aggression.


Mental Abuse (also known as emotional or verbal abuse)

This is when there are repeated threats or insults that are intended to scare or embarrass children or crush their self-esteem.

Physical signs include speech disorders and/or slowed physical development.

Behavioral signs may include the child acting too mature or too childish for his or her age; having difficulty making or keeping friends and having extreme behavioral changes.


Sexual Abuse

This is when there is any inappropriate sexual activity with the child. Inappropriate touching is the most frequent form of sexual abuse. Others include using a child for sexual films or prostitution, or exposing a child to adult sexual activity (through photographs, videos, etc.

Physical signs include torn, stained or bloody underwear; trouble walking or sitting; pain or itching in the genital area; bruises or bleeding in the genital area; or sexually transmitted disease.

Behavioral signs are an unusual knowledge of sex; fear of a particular person; seeming to be withdrawn or depressed; sudden weight gain or loss; or shying away from physical contact.



Child neglect is a repeated failure to provide a child with needed care, protection and attention. More than one million cases are reported each year.
Physical signs of neglect include poor hygiene; slowed physical development or appearing underweight; unattended medical needs or little or no supervision at home.

Behavioral signs include arriving at school very early or late, or missing school often; being frequently tired or hungry; stealing food or dressing inappropriately for the weather.


  • Physical neglect includes abandonment or rejection; lack of supervision; failure to provide food, clothing, or proper hygiene and the failure to seek medical care.
  • Medical neglect includes refusing to obtain medical treatment.


Imminent Risk

This is the act or failure to act that is likely to cause non-accidental serious injury, sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child. Failure to act means that an adult knew or should have understood the risk for the child. It can also mean that an adult failed to exercise reasonable judgment in protecting a child involved in an abusive situation.


  • Perpetrator fires a gun toward the child; however, the child was not harmed.
  • Perpetrator leaves a young child unsupervised in the home and a house fire occurs; however, a child is saved by a third party before the child is harmed.


  • Perpetrator knowingly allows a child in the unsupervised care of a known sex offender.
  • Perpetrator attempts to sexually abuse the child; however, an interruption of some sort prevents the act from occurring.


Student Abuse

Student abuse is the sexual abuse or serious bodily injury of a child committed by a school employee. School employees are individuals employed by a public or private school, intermediate unit or vocational-technical school. They include independent contractors, employees, and student interns.

School employees are required to report suspected student abuse to the school administrator who must report it to law enforcement officials without screening. If law enforcement officials have reasonable cause to suspect student abuse, they must notify the local children and youth agency.

The agency then registers a suspected student abuse report with ChildLine and conducts an investigation.