Frequently Asked Questions
What is Childhelp?
Childhelp is a non-profit organization whose mission is to meet the physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs of abused, neglected and at-risk children. Childhelp is not affiliated with Child Protective Services, any governmental agency, political party, religious denomination, or any other entity, organization or institution. Although Childhelp promotes the right of children to be free from abuse and neglect, we do not endorse or oppose any political or legislative action, or affiliate with any outside organization. Our primary purpose is to focus our efforts on advocacy, prevention, treatment and community outreach.
Information on Child Abuse and Neglect
Child Abuse Definitions (PDF)
What is child abuse?
Although there are many formal and acceptable definitions of child abuse, the following is offered as a guide for information on child abuse and neglect.
Child abuse consists of any act of commission or omission that endangers or impairs a child's physical or emotional health and development. Child abuse includes any damage done to a child which cannot be reasonably explained and which is often represented by an injury or series of injuries appearing to be non-accidental in nature.
How do I know if I am being abused and what can I do about it?
Child abuse comes in many forms and happens to a lot of people. Our 24-Hour Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline receives calls from people like you every day. Each call is anonymous. We have trained, professional counselors on staff to talk you through a crisis or to refer you to someone you can talk to in your area. We can also help you connect with the Child Protective Services office in your area.
I am stressed, or feel out of control with my child. I don’t know what to do and I am afraid to ask for help. What should I do?
Our 24-Hour Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline receives calls from people like you every day. Each call is anonymous. We have trained, professional counselors on staff to talk you through a crisis or to refer you to someone you can talk to in your area.
What do I do if I think someone is abusing a child?
If a child discloses that he or she has been abused by someone, it is important that you listen to them most of all.DO NOT
- Ask leading questions (a question that suggests the answer or contains the information the questioner is looking for – That man touched you, didn’t he?)
- Make promises
- Notify the parents or the caretaker
- Provide a safe environment (be comforting, welcoming, and a good listener).
- Tell the child it was not his/her fault
- Listen carefully
- Document the child’s exact quotes
- Be supportive, not judgmental
- Know your limits
- Tell the truth and make no promises
- Ask ONLY four questions
- What happened?
- Who did this to you?
- Where were you when this happened?
- When did this happen?
- Asking any additional questions may contaminate a case!
- Call your local law enforcement agency
- Call your local Child Protective Services Agency
- Call the 24-Hour Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline and we will connect you to the appropriate agency.
Childhelp accepts child abuse related calls through our 24-hour Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline. Since Childhelp is not a reporting agency, we do refer callers to Child Welfare Information Gateway for reporting purposes. If a child discloses abuse or if someone reports abuse to Childhelp counselors or staff members, a report will be made.
Child Protective Services (CPS) is a program mandated by individual states for the protection of children who are alleged to be abused or neglected. The function of this program is to screen and investigate allegations, perform assessments of the children’s safety and risk of harm, and evaluate the conditions that support or refute the allegations and need for intervention. The program may provide stabilization services for families to reduce risk factors. CPS does not necessarily remove a child in all allegations. Many allegations do not result in intervention. For example, in 2005, an estimated 3.6 million children received a CPS investigation; however only 899,000 were substantiated cases.
What is Childhelp’s response to legal situations and court cases involving child abuse, custody issues, or grandparents’ rights laws?
Although Childhelp promotes the right of children to be free from abuse and neglect, Childhelp does not get involved in legal cases. However we can provide referrals to legal assistance by calling our 24-Hour Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline.
What is Childhelp’s involvement with legislative action on child abuse issues?
Although Childhelp promotes the right of children to be free from abuse and neglect; we do not endorse or oppose any political or legislative action, or affiliate with any outside organization. However, Childhelp is involved with many Child Abuse Awareness activities, such as the National Day of Hope, the first Wednesday of April each year.
What makes Childhelp different from other agencies?
- Childhelp is a leading National Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Organization that has been in existence for almost 50 years.
- Childhelp has the only hotline that provides services on a national level 24-hours a day and we have been doing it for 25 years.
- Childhelp has the only 24 hour national hotline that does crisis services related to child abuse.
- Childhelp is the only 24 hour national hotline related to child abuse that utilizes professionally trained Masters level counselors.
- Childhelp is a leading organization with a holistic approach including prevention, intervention, treatment, advocacy services, and foster care.
- Childhelp demonstrates good stewardship with $.90 of every dollar going towards one of our programs directly benefiting abused and neglected children. If you would like to join us to make a difference in the lives of children, find out how you can help.
What resources are available for adult survivors of abuse and partners of survivors of abuse?
Childhelp has many sources available such as books and literature.
Major forms of child abuse
Any non-accidental injury to a child. This includes hitting, kicking, slapping, shaking, burning, pinching, hair pulling, biting, choking, throwing, shoving, whipping, and paddling.
Any sexual act between an adult and child. This includes fondling, penetration, intercourse, exploitation, pornography, exhibitionism, child prostitution, group sex, oral sex, or forced observation of sexual acts.
Failure to provide for a child's physical needs. This includes lack of supervision, inappropriate housing or shelter, inadequate provision of food, inappropriate clothing for season or weather, abandonment, denial of medical care, and inadequate hygiene.
Any attitude or behavior which interferes with a child's mental health or social development. This includes yelling, screaming, name-calling, shaming, negative comparisons to others, telling them they are "bad, no good, worthless" or "a mistake". It also includes the failure to provide the affection and support necessary for the development of a child's emotional, social, physical and intellectual well-being. This includes ignoring, lack of appropriate physical affection (hugs), not saying "I love you", withdrawal of attention, lack of praise, and lack of positive reinforcement.
For more information on child abuse and neglect, please contact Childhelp today at 1-800-4-A-CHILD