Identifying Abuse

Points to Remember


To report child abuse or neglect in Lucas County, call 419-213-CARE (2273).

Remember...The child is always the victim.

Although Ohio law permits corporal punishment in the home, school, and institution, excessive physical discipline is abuse. It is difficult to define "excessive," but there are guidelines you can use.

Physical discipline probably is excessive if:
  • it results in physical injury, including bruises
  • it is inconsistent, arbitrary punishment designed not to educate, but to instill fear
  • the caretaker loses control during discipline
  • it is inappropriate to the age of the child
  • it is the result of unreasonable expectations or demands on the child by the caretaker
A perpetrator of child abuse or neglect can be any person who has care, custody, or control of the child at the relevant time. This could include parent, teacher, babysitter or day care staff person, relative, institution staff person, bus driver, playground attendant, caretaker, boy/girlfriend, or anyone with whom the child has contact.

There also are instances when the parent or regular caretaker can be held responsible for abuse or neglect perpetrated by another; for example, when a parent allows the spouse to physically abuse their child, or when a child is left in inappropriate care and subsequently suffers abuse or neglect.

There are no simple answers. Abuse or neglect rarely occurs in clear, simple, and specific terms. Abuse or neglect usually results from complex combinations of a range of human and situational factors.

Identifying the Abuser
Indicators of the Physical Abuser
Indicators of the Sexual Abuser
Indicators of a Parent Committing Emotional Maltreatment
Indicators of a Parent Committing Neglect


Recognizing the Abused Child


Although some forms of abuse and neglect are more difficult to detect than others, there always are signs or clues which, singly or together, suggest that a child might be in need of help.

Signs and symptoms of abuse or neglect