Child Abuse and Neglect is a Public Health Issue

  • Published: Wednesday, April 7, 2021

April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month. Child abuse and neglect is a public health issue and is referred to as behavior that results in harm, potential harm, or threat of harm directed toward a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caregiver, or another person in care, custody, or control of the child. There are four common types of abuse and neglect:  

  • Physical abuse is the use of physical force, such as hitting, kicking, shaking, or other shows of force against a child.  
  • Sexual abuse involves engaging a child in sexual acts.  
  • Emotional abuse refers to behaviors that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being.  
  • Neglect is the failure to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs.  

Any person can report suspected child abuse, neglect, or exploitation. If there is reasonable cause to suspect abuse or neglect, contact the Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline (1-800-392-3738 or you can report online at http://dss.mo.gov/cd/can.htm.  

Writer: Amber Allen

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