Child neglect falls under the umbrella of child abuse and, not only, accounts for 60% of all reported child abuse cases it is also the most lethal.  The definition of neglect is failure to provide safety, shelter, supervision, and adequate nutritional needs.  There are two main forms of neglect, severe and general.  Severe neglect includes severe malnutrition, wilfully causing the child to be endangered, intentional failure to provide food, clothing, shelter, and/or medical care.  General neglect encompasses negligent failure of the caretaker to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, supervision, and/or medical care, where the result has not been physical injury to the child.

Neglect can be further broken down into three sub-categories, known as, physical, educational, and/or emotional neglect.

1.) Physical neglect-involves the refusal or suspension of seeking health care, inadequate supervision, abandonment, and/or expulsion from the home.
2.) Educational neglect-involves continued truancy, failure to enroll in school a child of mandatory age, and/or failure to attend to special educational needs.
3.) Emotional neglect-involves significant inattention to the child’s needs for affection and psychological care, any spousal abuse the child witnesses, and/or permissible drug or alcohol use by the child.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is the second most common form of child maltreatment.  The definition of physical abuse may vary from state to state, but broadly speaking it is any physical act by a caregiver that results in a child being hurt or injured.  If you suspect that a child is being mistreated by their caregiver, notify the Department of Child and Family Services.  Many people fail to act because they are unsure, but a reasonable suspicion is grounds to make a report and the authorities can investigate and make a proper determination.  Others fail to report because they don’t feel it is their place, but if a child is being abused they need someone to stand up for them.  Child abuse has been linked to impaired physical emotional, and mental development.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves the occurrence of a child in any sexual situation with an adult.  This can include actual contact (e.g. fondling, rape), having the child watch sexual acts or material, using the child in any aspect of pornography, and making the child look at an adult’s genitals.

California law further sub-divides sexual abuse into sexual assault and sexual exploitation.  Sexual assault includes rape, statutory rape, incest, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts, oral copulation, penetration by a foreign object, and child molestation.  Sexual exploitation includes pornography and prostitution.