610-987-2248   |   info@berksiu.org

What is Child Abuse?


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), child abuse and neglect (also referred to generally as child maltreatment) as "any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver (e.g. clergy, coach, teacher) that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child."

**Click here to read the National Child Abuse Coalition’s definition of Child Abuse.

Types & Symptoms of Child Abuse

Physical Abuse

  • Nonaccidental physical injury to a child by a parent or caregiver.
  • May include hitting, kicking, beating, punching, choking, etc.
  • Signs of physical abuse may include: unexplained injuries (bruising, fractures, bleeding, etc.),  displaying scared, depressed, anxious, withdrawn, or aggressive behaviors, and/or is frightened of parents or other significant caregivers.


Emotional Abuse (or Psychological Abuse)

  • A pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth.
  • May include constant criticism, threats, or rejection as well as withholding love and support.
  • Signs of emotional abuse may include: extreme behavior – overly passive, compliant, or aggressive, either being overly adult (e.g. being a parent-figure) or overly young, delays in physical or emotional development, and/or depression or suicidal thoughts.


Sexual Abuse or Exploitation

  • Defined by CAPTA as, “The employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually implicit conduct or simulation of such conduct.”
  • May include molestation, incest, rape, indecent exposure, exploitation through prostitution or pornographic material.


Neglect & Abandonment

  • Failure of a parent or caregiver to provide for a child’s basic needs. 
    Often, includes:
    Physical – failure to provide food, clothing, supervision, etc.
    Educational – failure to enroll student in school, attend to special education needs, etc.
    Medical – failure to provide necessary treatment, withholding medical-indicated treatments, etc.
    Emotional – permitting child to use drugs/alcohol, with
  • Abandonment includes when the parent’s identity or whereabouts are unknown, the child has been left alone in situations where they may be harmed (extended periods of time, etc.), the child is deserted with no regard of the child’s health and safety, or the parent has failed to maintain contact with the child or provide reasonable supports for a specified amount of time. 

*Information from Child Welfare’s “What is Child Abuse and Neglect? Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms.”

Signs of Child Abuse

We are to be aware of common indicators of child abuse which include:

  • Physical Signs bruises, marks, drastic weight change, bleeding, broken bones, lack of basic needs, etc.
  • Emotional & Psychological Signs developmental delays, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, etc.
  • Behavioral Signsaggression, withdrawal, drastic change of typical behaviors, etc.


The State of Pennsylvania maintains an office, Childline, to receive and track reports of child abuse and neglect.

Childline can be accessed 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. Their toll-free telephone number is 1-800-932-0313.

What is Child Sexual Abuse?

Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor. A child cannot consent to any form of sexual activity, period. When a perpetrator engages with a child this way, they are committing a crime that can have lasting effects on the victim for years. Child sexual abuse does not need to include physical contact between a perpetrator and a child. Some forms of child sexual abuse include (but are not limited to):

  • Exhibitionism, or exposing oneself to a minor
  • Fondling
  • Intercourse
  • Masturbation in the presence of a minor or forcing the minor to masturbate
  • Obscene conversations, phone calls, text messages, or digital interaction
  • Producing, owning, or sharing pornographic images or movies of children
  • Sex of any kind with a minor, including vaginal, oral, or anal
  • Sex trafficking
  • Any other contact of a sexual nature that involves a minor.

Learn more at: https://www.rainn.org/articles/child-sexual-abuse

We are using cookies to give you the best experience. You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in privacy settings.
AcceptPrivacy Settings


  • Google Analytics

Google Analytics

This website uses Google Analytics to collect anonymous information, including the number of visitors and most popular pages.

Keeping this cookie enabled helps us to continually improve our site.