Information for Patients
Child abuse is doing something or failing to do something that results in harm to a child or puts a child at risk of harm. Child abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional. Neglect, or not providing for a child's needs, is also a form of abuse.
Most abused children suffer greater emotional than physical damage. An abused child may become depressed. He or she may withdraw, think of suicide or become violent. An older child may use drugs or alcohol, try to run away or abuse others.
Child abuse is a serious problem. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call the police or your local child welfare agency.
Many older people are victims of elder abuse. It is the mistreatment of an older person, usually by a caregiver. It can happen within the family. It can also happen in assisted living facilities or nursing homes.
The mistreatment may be
- Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
- Neglect or abandonment
- Financial abuse - stealing of money or belongings
Possible signs of elder abuse include unexplained bruises, burns, and injuries. There may also be bed sores and poor hygiene. The person may become withdrawn, agitated, and depressed. There may be a sudden change in the person's financial situation.
Elder abuse will not stop on its own. Someone else needs to step in and help. If you think that an older person is in urgent danger, call 911. Otherwise, contact adult protective services.
NIH: National Institute on Aging