Frequently Asked Questions

This collection of Frequently Asked Questions provides brief answers to many common questions about child abuse and neglect.

  • What is the cost of child abuse in New Hampshire?

    $300 million is spent annually on treatment of child abuse and neglect victims.

  • What is the cost to the tax payers of New Hampshire?

    $95.7 million annually.

  • How many children are abused and neglected each year?

    About 1,000 New Hampshire children are found to be victims of abuse or neglect at the hands of a parent or primary caregiver each year -and about 30% of them are under the age of four.

    When all children don’t have equal opportunity for healthy growth and development, we put our future at risk.  Fortunately we know how to do better.  Because a third of children reported as abused or neglected are children under four years of age, and most are in the child protective system for the first time, we are focusing on innovative programs that intervene early on.  These programs help lay strong foundations for children’s later growth and development which will reduce the possibility of more serious and expensive problems from developing later, resulting in lifelong effects on physical and mental health.  Although nationally 753,000 children are reported as abused or neglected each year, using this approach we are confident we can reduce that number significantly.

  • What is the most common age of the abused?

    In 2011, 35% of victims were younger than 3 years, with children younger than 1 year having the highest rate of victimization (21.2 per 1,000 children).(Source: 2013 CDC Report)

  • What is the most common age of death from abuse?

    Of child maltreatment fatalities in 2011, 81.6% occurred among children younger than age 4; 9.5% among 4-7 year-olds; 4.6% among 8-11 year-olds; 2.2% among 12-15 year-olds; and 1.4% among 16-17 year-olds. (Source:  CDC)

  • What should I do if I suspect a child is being abused?

    We know healthy development requires environments free of, what experts call, toxic stress.  These chronically stressful environments, such as exposure to family violence or extreme poverty, actually harm children’s developing brain architecture.  That’s why it’s so important that when you suspect abuse, you call your local child protective services to connect families to supports.  

    Our annual Child Abuse Prevention Month campaign is also an opportunity to work together to create support for families that reduce exposure to toxic stress, including our legislative efforts to expand violence prevention programs that provide additional economic and social supports to at-risk families.  We have many resources and suggestions to help you support prevention activities in your community.

    To report abuse or neglect, contact Department of Youth and Child Services at (800) 894-5533 or (603) 271-6562.
     

  • How do I make a report to child protective services?

    Reporting abuse or neglect can protect a child and get help for a family—it may even save a child's life. In New Hampshire, any person who suspects child abuse or neglect is required to report.

    To report child abuse or neglect, please call the Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) Central Intake at (800) 894-5533 (in-state) or (603) 271-6562.

    Call your local police department with urgent child abuse or neglect reports during DCYF non-work hours (between 4:30 PM and 8:00 AM or on weekends and holidays).

    Proof of abuse and neglect is not required to make a report.  Reports of abuse and neglect concerns are confidential and can be anonymous. If you have asked that your name not be disclosed, DCYF will make every effort to remove your name from all DCYF records of the report and investigation. However, if the case ever goes to court, a judge may request identifying information.

  • How can we prevent child abuse?

    When we intervene early in children’s lives, we see the results later on in a more prosperous future for all of us.  Child development is community development.  When we provide healthy environments of experiences and relationships, we build a strong foundation for healthy brain development.  One active ingredient is the “serve and return” relationships that children have with their parents and other caregivers in their communities.  As in games such as tennis and volleyball, young children naturally reach out for interaction, and adults respond with reliable, underdeveloped, and future development must rely on a fragile foundation.  That is why our organization supports efforts to implement child abuse prevention programs known to be effective, such as the Period of PURPLE Crying, Healthy Families America and Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework.  This ensures that all children in our community will grow up with healthy development they need to become stable, contributing adults.

  • What about home visiting?

    When you are building a house, you go step by step, beginning with a strong foundation.  Just like a house a strong foundation in children’s early years increases the probability of positive outcomes.  A weak foundation increases the odds of later difficulties.  Home visiting programs are designed to build that strong foundation by connecting families with community support and resources to help create positive environments for young children.  When that strong foundation is built, children are able to develop their cognitive, social and emotional capacities, which all work together to create positive outcomes.

  • What are the types of child abuse?

    The types of child abuse are physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. It is important to note, however, that these types of abuse are more typically found in combination than alone. A physically abused child, for example, is often emotionally abused as well, and a sexually abused child also may be neglected. Visit here for signs of each type of abuse.  (Source:  Childwelfare.gov)

  • What are the signs of child abuse?

    The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect.

    The Child

    • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
    • Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents' attention
    • Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
    • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
    • Lacks adult supervision
    • Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
    • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home

    The Parent:

    • Shows little concern for the child
    • Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child's problems in school or at home
    • Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
    • Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
    • Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
    • Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs

    The Parent and Child

    • Rarely touch or look at each other
    • Consider their relationship entirely negative
    • State that they do not like each other

    (Source:  Childwelfare.gov)

  • Who are the perpetrators of child abuse and neglect?

    We know that stressors in a child’s environment can affect the architecture of the developing brain, and that intervention in the lives of children who are experiencing toxic stress- such as chronic poverty and community violence – should not be delayed.  Innovated states and counties have designed high=quality programs that have resolved developmental problems that arose in early childhood, and led to significant long-term improvements.  We have to make sure all of our communities have access to these innovations.

    • Most victims in 2011 were maltreated by a parent (80.8%). Other perpetrators included relatives other than parents (5.9%), unmarried partners of parents (4.4%), and other unrelated adults (2.9%).
       
    • In 2011, fewer than 6% of perpetrators were aged < 19 years; 36.4% were aged 20–29 years; 32.3% were aged 30–39 years; 15.9% were aged 40–49 years; and 5.0% were aged 50-59 years.
       
    • Two-fifths (45.1%) of perpetrators in 2011 were men, and 53.6% were women.

    (Source:  CDC)