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NC Department of Health and Human Services
N.C. DPH: Chronic Disease and Injury Section
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Injury and Violence Prevention Branch

Child Maltreatment/Abuse

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that child maltreatment includes all types of abuse and neglect that occur among children under the age of 18. There are four common types of abuse.

  • Physical abuse occurs when a child’s body is injured as a result of hitting, kicking, shaking, burning or other show of force.
  • Sexual abuse involves engaging a child in sexual acts. It includes fondling, rape, and exposing a child to other sexual activities.
  • Emotional abuse refers to behaviors that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being. Examples include name calling, shaming, rejection, withholding love, and threatening.
  • Neglect is the failure to meet a child’s basic needs. These needs include housing, food, clothing, education, and access to medical care.

What we want to do is stop child maltreatment before it starts. Having programs that support parents and teach positive parenting skills are very important. Positive parenting skills include good communication, appropriate discipline, and responding to children’s physical and emotional needs. Programs to prevent child maltreatment also improve parent-child relationships and provide parents with social support.

More information is available in the CDC’s fact sheet: Understanding Child Maltreatment.