Signs of Child Abuse

To Report Child Abuse Call the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse & Maltreatment: 800.342.3720
To Report Child Abuse Outside New York Visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway here 
Para Los Servicios del Abuso de Menores en español clic aquí

Signs of Child Abuse - Sexual, Physical and More

Some signs of child abuse are more obvious than others, but all children require us to be aware.

Possible Signs of Physical or Sexual Child Abuse

  • Behavior changes such as fear, anxiety, depression, aggression or withdrawal, not wanting to go home, or appearing afraid of certain individuals
  • Overly sexualized behavior or use of explicit sexual language that's inappropriate for the child's age
  • Changes in sleeping patterns including frequent nightmares, difficulty falling asleep. Both may result in the child appearing tired or fatigued
  • Changes in school performance and attendance, such as being unable to concentrate in class or frequent absences
  • Eating habits that lead to extreme weight gain or loss
  • Visible unexplained injuries such as burns, bruises, or broken bones
  • Use of drugs or alcohol
  • Trouble walking or sitting

How You Can Help Abused Children: Report Child Abuse

If you suspect that a child is being abused, or if a child confides in you that they have been hurt or harmed by someone, it's important to keep calm and tell the child you believe them. Show interest and concern while reassuring and supporting the child.

To report an emergency child abuse situation in New York, call 911.

In a non-emergency:

More Information About Child Abuse


Safe Horizon's mission is to provide support, prevent violence and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities.
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