Child Abuse and Negligence FAQs
Here are common questions people often have about child abuse and negligence. If you have any questions, contact us at 800-529-7285. We offer a free case consultation.
Child abuse and child neglect impact millions of children every year in the U.S. It is an epidemic that our Deratany & Kosner attorneys aim to end. Child abuse occurs when a parent or caregiver causes or puts a child at risk for injury, emotional harm, or death. There are different types of child abuse, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.
Sometimes, the signs are obvious. A child has been visibly beaten. A young girl becomes pregnant. Other times, the warning signs are much more subtle. These include:
- Physical Abuse Warning Signs
- Unexplained bruises
- Unexplained injuries (broken bones, burn marks, etc.)
- Sudden change in mood
- Avoiding eye contact
- Flinching at sudden movements
- Fear of adults
- Emotional/Psychological Abuse Warning Signs
- Child cries without warning
- Frequent unexplained temper tantrums
- Being extremely quiet or withdrawn
- Child has poor self-esteem
- Poor performance in school
- Extreme behavior (very aggressive or very passive)
- Sexual Abuse Warning Signs
- Stained underwear
- Difficulty sitting or walking
- Frequent bedwetting or nightmares
- Pain in genital area
- Knowledgeable about sexual behavior
- Negligence Warning Signs
- Child smells offensive
- Unkempt hair
- Disheveled clothing
- Unusual weight loss
- Child constantly hungry
There are many different types of child neglect cases. Some of the most common – and most serious – neglect cases include:
- Physical Neglect
- Child left unsupervised
- Child left home alone by parents
- Child is not fed enough food
- Parents regularly kicking a child out of the house
- Emotional and Psychological Neglect
- Not giving child enough attention
- Withholding affection from a child
- Parents being verbally abusive with child
- Verbally threatening a child
- Routinely ignoring child
- Child not registered for school or attending school
- Medical Neglect
- Not getting regular medical checkups
- Not giving child medications prescribed by a doctor
- Poor dental hygiene due to lack of dental care
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, we recommend taking the following steps to protect the health and safety of the child:
- Call the police – Law enforcement officials can contact the appropriate social services agency or handle the investigation themselves.
- Do not get personally involved – In other words, do not directly approach the parents and tell them that you think they are mistreating the child. You could put yourself in danger by doing so.
- Call an anonymous hotline – There are many hotlines available to call if you suspect a child is being abused. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has a 24-hour child abuse hotline.
- Simply call 800-252-2873. You do not have to give your name. But you could be making a huge difference in a child’s life.
- Contact a social services agency – Each state has a social services agency created to help protect the health and welfare of children. Contact them and let them know something is wrong.
- Call our law firm – At any point, please contact us right away. We can help you every step of the way.
If you are a professional in the field of health care, education, social work or law enforcement, the state of Illinois requires you to report any suspected neglect or abuse of a child. This includes:
- Police officers
- Daycare workers
- Social service workers