Child Abuse & Neglect

Child abuse is defined by the Penal Code as “a physical injury inflicted by other than accidental means on a child by another person”

In addition to physical injuries, child abuse also includes general and severe neglect, sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, willful cruelty or unjustifiable punishment and emotional maltreatment.

–  California Attorney General’s Office. (2000).
Child Abuse Prevention Handbook. Northern California, Allied Printing.

Key topics:

  • Forms of Abuse
  • Mandated Reporting
  • Community Resources
  • For Further Information

Forms of Abuse

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse involves any action toward a child that results in a physical injury and is characterized as not being accidental.

[1]. Examples of physical abuse include striking a child with the hand or an object, pinching or biting the child, and pulling a child by the hair.

Child Neglect

Child neglect has two categories, severe neglect and general neglect. Severe neglect consists of failure to protect the child from severe malnutrition; failure to thrive or willfully causing or permitting the body or health of child to be endangered. General neglect consists of a pattern of failing to provide for a child’s basic needs where no physical injury has occurred.

[2] Physical signs of neglect include poor hygiene, untreated illness and physical injuries. Behavioral indicators such as being tardy to school or being unsupervised may also be signs that a child is experiencing neglect.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse consists of abuse as well as emotional deprivation or neglect. Some examples include belittling, shaming, and humiliating a child, calling names and making negative comparisons to others, or constantly telling a child that he or she is “no good.”

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves any sexual act between an adult and child. It can be both physical as well as nonphysical. Examples of physical acts include inappropriate fondling, touching and actual penetration. Nonphysical forms of sexual abuse include a child being forced to undress or exposing a child to adult sexuality.

[1] California Attorney General’s Office. (2000)
[2] J. Bormann, personal communication, (2009)
Child Abuse Prevention Handbook. Northern California, Allied Printing. – Child Abuse, Physical, Emotional, Sexual, Neglect

Mandated Reporting

Mandated Reporting

While child abuse is a community issue and should be reported by anyone, it is required by law for certain professionals and laypersons who have a certain working relationship or contact with children to report child abuse.

Examples of individuals required to report child abuse include the following: teachers, employees of a child care institution, public assistance workers, social workers, and health practitioners.

For more information, please visit:

(California Attorney General’s Office, 2000) [1]

To report child abuse in Alameda County

Alameda County Child Abuse Prevention Council

Alameda County Child Abuse Prevention Council is dedicated to coordinating our community’s efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect and to promote the physical and emotional health of children and families in Alameda County.


Family Paths

Family Paths, Inc. (formerly Parental Stress Service) is a non-profit organization of mental health professionals and dedicated volunteers that provide a number of mental health, counseling and therapy services to low income, multi-stressed individuals and families.

Phone: (510) 893-9230
24-hr hotline: (800) 829-3777
Fax: (510) 893-2074


CALICO, the Child Abuse Listening, Interviewing and Coordination Center

The Child Abuse Listening, Interviewing and Coordination Center, known as CALICO, provides a supportive environment to interview children and facilitates a collaborative response to child abuse in which the needs of children take precedence.

524 Estudillo Avenue
San Leandro, CA 94577

Phone: 510-895-0702
Fax: 510-895-0706

Further Information

Child Abuse & Neglect in Alameda County: A Fact sheet

Alameda Social Services

The California Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Law

Child Abuse Reporting Guide