Child Abuse

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP
    David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP

    David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP

    Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

What should people do if they suspect that a child is being abused?

If it is suspected that a child is being abused, laws in most of the United States require that a professional that is in the role of caring for the child (for example, a teacher, doctor, or daycare provider) make a formal report of the abuse to child-welfare authorities in the state in which it is suspected to have occurred. Those professionals are often called mandated reporters. Both for those professionals and for people who are not mandated reporters, child-abuse reporting hotlines are available in every state in the United States.

Where can people find more information about child abuse?

American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
350 Poplar Avenue
Elmhurst, IL 60126
877-402 7722

Child Abuse Prevention Association
503 E. 23rd Street
Independence, M0 64055
Phone: 816-252-8388
Fax: 816-252-1337

Phone: 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)
People they help: child-abuse victims, parents, concerned individuals

Child Welfare Information Gateway
Children's Bureau/ACYF
1250 Maryland Avenue, SW, Eighth Floor
Washington, DC 20024

Darkness to Light
Phone: 866-FOR-LIGHT (866-367-5444)
People they help: children and adults needing local information or resources about sexual abuse

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
2000 L St., NW, Suite 406
Washington, DC 20036

Medically reviewed by Margaret Walsh, MD; American Board of Pediatrics


Al Odhayani, A., W.J. Watson, and L. Watson. "Behavioural consequences of child abuse." Canadian Family Physician 59.8 Aug. 2013: 831-836.

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2013.

American Psychiatric Association's Children, Youth and Families Office. "Understanding and preventing child abuse and neglect." (2013) <>.

Currie, J., and C.S. Widom. "Long-term consequences of child abuse and neglect on adult economic well-being." Child Maltreatment 15.2 May 2010: 111-120.

Fang, X., D.S. Brown, C. Florence, and J. Mercy. "The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States and implications for prevention." Child Abuse and Neglect Jan. 2012.

Healy, M. "Child neglect accounts for 75% of reported abuse cases." USA Today Sept. 2013.

Hussey, J.M., J.J. Chang, and J.B. Kotch. "Child maltreatment in the United States: Prevalence, risk factors and adolescent health consequences." Pediatrics 118.3 Sept. 2006: 933-942.

Urosevich, K. "It takes a Hui to raise a child: a case for peer-to-peer support for child abuse prevention." Hawaii Journal of Medicine and Public Health 72.10 Oct. 2013: 365-368.

Wegman, H.L., and C. Stetler. "A meta-analytic review of the effects of childhood abuse on medical outcomes in adulthood." Psychosomatic Medicine 71.8 Oct. 2009: 805-812.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/21/2016

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