The web Browser you are currently using is unsupported, and some features of this site may not work as intended. Please update to a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox or Edge to experience all features Michigan.gov has to offer.
Child abuse is when an adult hurts a child, and it is not an accident. Hitting, constant yelling or unwanted touching can all be child abuse. If someone is hurting you or making you uncomfortable, ask the person to stop or leave and tell someone you trust about what happened.
- Physical abuse is when an adult hurts a child by hitting, shaking, choking, burning, pinching, beating, or any other action that causes pain or injury.
- Emotional abuse is when an adult hurts a child by always yelling at the child, threatening to leave, or saying mean things.
- Sexual abuse is when an adult or someone older than a child touches the private parts of a child’s body or has a child touch the older person’s private parts. It is also sexual abuse if an adult shows a child pictures or movies of people without their clothes on or takes these types of pictures of a child. Sexual abuse usually involves someone the child knows. Often, the child will be told to keep the relationship a secret. They may be threatened with something bad happening if they tell anyone.
- Neglect is when an adult fails to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs like not providing enough food, clean clothing, or a safe place to live. It’s also when an adult doesn’t give a child proper medical and dental care or make sure they get to school.
- Some children are abused by strangers, but most are abused by someone they know—a parent or stepparent, another relative, a babysitter, or an older kid. Child abuse can happen in all types of families. In fact, In Michigan, one in six children aged 0-17 experience abuse and/or neglect that hinders healthy development and outcomes.
It can be hard to believe that someone you love or someone who is nice can hurt you or other kids, but some adults lose their tempers or can’t control the way they act. Drinking alcohol or abusing drugs can also make it hard for some people to control how they act. An adult who hurts children has a problem and needs to get help to stop.
All kids deserve to have adults in their lives who love and support them as they grow up.
If you think that you are being abused or you know a friend is being hurt, know that abuse is never your fault. The most important thing you can do is tell someone you trust. Never keep it a secret, even if the person hurting you tells you that something bad will happen if you tell. Trusting someone after you’ve been hurt can be hard to do. If you can’t trust anyone at home, talk to someone at school (like a teacher, counselor, or school nurse) or contact OK2SAY.
- Crisis Text Line serves anyone in any type of crisis: Visit https://www.crisistextline.org or Text “START” to 741741