Child Abuse & Neglect

What is Child Abuse & Neglect?

Thinking of the words “child abuse” often bring up images of the most extreme and severe cases of physical abuse. While physical abuse triggers us to recognize abuse, abuse happens in many other ways.

Neglect is the negligent failure of a parent, guardian, or caretaker to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision, in cases where no physical injury to the child has occurred. Severe neglect involves situations, including severe malnutrition, where the child’s health is endangered.

Physical Abuse is bodily injury inflicted by other than accidental means on a child, including willful cruelty, unjustified punishment, or corporal punishment or injury resulting in a traumatic condition.

Sexual Abuse is the victimization of a child through sexual activities, including molestation, indecent exposure, fondling, rape, incest, or sexual exploitation.

Emotional Abuse is non-physical mistreatment, including willfully causing any child to suffer, inflicting mental suffering, or endangering a child’s emotional well-being.

Preventing Abuse

The goal of child abuse prevention is to stop child abuse and neglect from ever happening. The best way to prevent child abuse and neglect is to support families and help parents learn the skills they need to be effective caregivers. Parenting is a learned skill. Child abuse prevention often focuses on helping parents learn how to meet the needs of their children through positive parenting and nonviolent discipline techniques.

Ways to Prevention

Download a list of ways to decrease child abuse and increase child safety

Children’s Action Committee’s Mission: “To engage our community to prevent child abuse and neglect and to ensure our children are safe and healthy in mind, body, and spirit.”

Children’s Action Committee focuses on primary prevention services. We educate the general public and advocate for children with the goal of preventing child abuse and neglect. Primary prevention strategies often seek to strengthen family functioning. Examples include education programs for new or expectant parents, community-based family support services and public and professional awareness campaigns about how child abuse can be prevented.

Source: California Penal Code Section 11165