Child Abuse. Look for the signs. To report call 1-800-96-ABUSE (22873)

Signs of Physical Abuse

The child may have unexplained:

    • bruises, welts, cuts, or other injuries
    • broken bones
    • burns

A child experiencing physical abuse may:

    • seem withdrawn or depressed
    • seem afraid to go home or may run away
    • shy away from physical contact
    • be aggressive
    • wear inappropriate clothing to hide injuries

Signs of Sexual Abuse

The child may have:

    • torn, stained or bloody underwear
    • trouble walking or sitting
    • pain or itching in genital area
    • a sexually transmitted disease

A child experiencing sexual abuse may:

    • have unusual knowledge of sex or act seductively
    • fear a particular person
    • seem withdrawn or depressed
    • gain or lose weight suddenly
    • shy away from physical contact
    • run away from home

Signs of Neglect

The child may have:

    • unattended medical needs
    • little or no supervision at home
    • poor hygiene
    • appear underweight

A child experiencing neglect may:

    • be frequently tired or hungry
    • steal food
    • appear overly needy for adult attention

Look for the Patterns

Serious abuse usually involves a combination of factors.  While a single sign may not be significant, a pattern of physical or behavioral signs is a serious indicator and should be reported.  

If a child tells YOU about abuse:

  • Be a good listener.  Show that you understand and believe what the child tells you.  Encourage, but don’t pressure him/her to talk.  Ask open ended questions.
  • Be supportive.  Tell the child he/she did the right thing by coming to you.  Stress that he/she is not to blame.  Let the child know that you want to help.
  • Don’t overreact.  This can frighten the child or prevent him/her from telling you more.  Do not talk negatively about the suspected abuser in front of the child.
  • Document and report it.  Document your conversation as soon as you can.  If possible, write down the child’s exact words.
  • Don’t delay.  Never assume someone else will report the abuse.  The sooner it’s reported, the sooner the child and their family can be helped. 

Call or Report it online at:


  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Police Officers
  • Child Care Workers
  • Any Witnesses
  • Any/All School Personnel
In Florida, the crime of Failure to Report Child Abuse or Neglect is a Third Degree Felony and punishable by up to five (5) years in prison, five (5) years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.

Español/Spanish: Si usted es un locutor español y desea divulgar abuso, llame por favor el teléfono directo en 1-800-962-2873 para hablar con un consejero de habla hispana.

Kreyol/Creole: Pou rapé enfomayson en Kreyol, tanpri rele numero 1-800-962-2873, telefonn pou le soud rele 1-800-453-5145.  Numero toll gratis sa disponsib 24 le de jou, 7 jou pa semén avék konsye kap tann pou edé ou.