How do I recognize child abuse?


Each year in Oregon about 40,000 reports of child abuse are made, with about 8,000 confirmed incidents each year. You can help these children. Oregon law recognizes these types of abuse:

What is Child Abuse?

Bruises, welts, burns, cuts, broken bones, sprains, bites, etc. which are deliberately inflicted. Injuries may:

  • be in the shape of the article used (electric cord, belt buckle, etc.);
  • not match children’s description of how they occurred (fracture from falling off sofa, etc.)

What is Neglect?

Failure to provide food, shelter, medicine, etc., to such a degree that a child’s health and safety are endangered. Children often:

  • don’t want to leave school;
  • are constantly tired;
  • are left alone with no supervision;
  • have unmet physical, emotional or medical needs.

What is Mental Abuse?

A continuing pattern of rejecting, terrorizing, ignoring, isolating, or corrupting a child, resulting in serious damage to the child. Children often:

  • have speech or sleep disorders;
  • fail to grow normally;
  • are very aggressive or withdrawn;
  • show an abnormal need for emotional support.

Sexual Abuse and Sexual Exploitation

Any sexual contact in which a child is used to sexually stimulate another person is illegal. This may be anything from rape to involve a child in pornography. Children often have:

  • difficulty walking or sitting; pain or itching in genital area; torn, stained or bloody underclothing;
  • poor peer relationships; fantasy or infantile behavior; fear of being left with someone;
  • inappropriate interest in, knowledge of, or acting out, of sexual matters;
  • any of the behavioral problems listed under “Mental Injury.”

Threat of Harm

Any action, statement, written or non-verbal message which is serious enough to make a child believe he is in danger of being abused. Children may exhibit any of the behaviors listed for other types of abuse.

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