Child Abuse and Neglect

Cases of child abuse and neglect are far too common within our communities. On average, more than five children die each day as a result of child abuse or neglectin the United States. There are over 6.2 million reports made of child abuse and neglect each year. Over 15 million children witness violence in their homes each year.

While precise legal definitions vary across the United States, child abuse can broadly be defined as an act—or failure to act—that results in a child's serious harm or risk of harm, including physical or emotional harm, exploitation or death. Neglect occurs when a caretaker fails to provide for a child's basic needs.

Children are the some of the most vulnerable members of our society, mainly because of their dependence on others to get their needs met. And sadly, in the majority of cases, the adults that children depend on are the ones responsible for abusing them.

The consequences of abuse and neglect can be profound and can last long into the life cycle. However, once a child's safety is assured, thriving after abuse is possible. At Joyful Heart, we have seen and are in awe of the strength and resiliency of survivors.  We believe that every child has a right to a safe childhood free of violence. The experience of child abuse and/or neglect infringes upon that right. These experiences can be immensely painful, and we honor the strength, courage and time that the healing journey takes of survivors. It is our sincerest hope and intention that the information and resources in this section—and throughout the rest of this site—can help along that journey. In addition, it is also our goal for this information to be shared and used as a tool to protect our children and prevent violence before it begins.

In this section, you can find more information on the following topics related to child abuse and neglect:

Click on any of these links to learn more.

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