Abuse

Abuse is maltreatment. It can be physical, such as hurting the body, or it may be emotional, sexual, or even financial. Injury from abuse may occur to children or vulnerable adults or among spouses.

Suspect physical abuse when:

  • An injury cannot be explained or does not match the explanation.
  • Repeated injuries occur.
  • Explanations change for how an injury happened.

You may feel uneasy if your health professional brings up the issue of abuse. Health care providers have a professional duty and legal obligation to evaluate the possibility of abuse. It is important to consider this possibility, especially if there were no witnesses to an injury.

If you suspect abuse, seek help. You can call the local child or adult protective agency, police, or clergy or a health professional such as a doctor, nurse, or counselor.

If you think your child has been abused, it is your responsibility to call your health professional or contact the National Child Abuse Hotline and Referral Service at 1-800-422-4453. Adults need to protect young children, because they cannot protect themselves.

Last Updated: May 6, 2009

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.