Child abuse and violence affect millions of children each year. Child abuse includes physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect. A number of different government agencies and nongovernmental organizations provide assistance for the victims of child abuse. In this section you will find state-specific links to mandatory reporting requirements, child abuse statutes, legal procedures, forms, and more. Also included are links to the U.S. Child Welfare Information Gateway, which has information about recognizing and responding to child abuse, the U.S. Dept. of Justice Office for Victims of Crime, and more.
Child Abuse Resources by State
Although child abuse is a nationwide problem, child abuse laws vary from state to state. Therefore, it is important to turn first to your own state laws and resources when educating yourself on the subject. There is a wide variety of information out there regarding child abuse including: child abuse hotlines, child protective services, and reporting guides.
Reporting Child Abuse: Federal Assistance
As with most crimes against individuals, child abuse is prosecuted in state courts. However, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) provides support through its Child Welfare Information Gateway, which promotes the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline. The hotline provides anonymous crisis assistance, counseling, and referral services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-422-4453.
Child Advocacy Centers
Child advocacy centers have been established across the nation to coordinate and expedite the investigation, prosecution, and delivery of treatment services in cases of child sexual abuse and serious physical abuse, while ensuring that victims receive effective and immediate support.
The primary function of most Child Advocacy Centers is to provide a child friendly, neutral setting to conduct joint investigative interviews, on-site medical evaluation and treatment, therapeutic interventions, and victim support and advocacy services to child victims and non-offending family members.
Getting Out of an Abusive Environment
If you suspect a child of being abuse, how do you approach him or her? Or what if a child comes to you? It’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed and confused in this situation. Child abuse is a difficult subject that can be hard to accept and even harder to talk about.
You can make a tremendous difference in the life of an abused child, especially if you take steps to stop the abuse early. When talking with an abused child, the best thing you can provide is calm reassurance and unconditional support. Let your actions speak for you if you’re having trouble finding the words. Remember that talking about the abuse may be very difficult for the child. It’s your job to reassure the child and provide whatever help you can. Contact authorities when appropriate.
How a Family Law Attorney Can Help You
Child abuse cases can be very difficult, which is why it is important to get the help of an experienced child abuse attorney to guide you through the process. Family law attorneys can help protect the rights of abused children across the country. If you have been injured by child abuse or know someone who has, do not hesitate to see if you have a case against the abuser.