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OVC Help Series for Crime Victims: What Adults Need To Know About Child Abuse

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2012
2 pages

This online brochure from the HELP Brochure Series of the federal Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) provides information for adults on the characteristics of child abuse, how it affects victims, and what adults can do to address the needs of child victims.


In profiling the features of child abuse, the brochure indicates it can be physical, sexual, or emotional. Child neglect is the failure to provide for a child's basic physical and emotional needs. Although child abuse may not always cause serious physical injury, it can result in serious emotional harm that has long-term effects. Parents, teachers, coaches, neighbors, and family members may have contact with children who are experiencing abuse or neglect. This brochure targets these adults to prepare them with knowledge needed to identify signs in children that they may be abused and/or neglected and what these adults can do to help these children. The following are some of the brochure's instructions to adults who may want to address a child victim's needs: 1) Do not press the child for more information; 2) Listen to and believe what the child says about how he/she is being treated; 3) Reassure the child that he/she has not done anything wrong to deserve mistreatment; 4) Remember that the people who have harmed the child are often loved by the child; and 5) Avoid negative comments that may complicate the child's attitudes toward and interactions with the abusers. Statistical data on child abuse in the United States are provided, and contact information is listed for national groups that serve child abuse victims.

Date Published: June 1, 2012