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    • Being extremely quiet or withdrawn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:

  • Teachers
  • Doctors
  • Police officers
  • Daycare workers
  • Social service workers


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