At Deirdre’s House, we know there are many signs of child abuse and neglect. To learn more about how you can identify those signs the many valuable resources Deirdre’s House offers, please visit these pages:


What You Need to Know About Child Abuse and Neglect

UNDERSTAND that abusers are usually a known person.

Child abusers are not always strangers who lurk where children gather. Unfortunately, they are often people you know and interact with in your daily life. They can be a neighbor, family member, friend—anybody. It is easier for someone trusted and known to the child and parent to gain access to their victims.

UNDERSTAND why children don’t “tell”.

There are many reasons why children do not report abuse. Often times, they can feel ashamed, scared, guilty, and embarrassed. They do not want to upset those close to them. They may feel they should have been able to stop it and that it is their fault, especially if the abuse was by a trusted person. They also feel they will not be believed, often because this is what the abuser told them.

UNDERSTAND that substance abuse and domestic violence often go hand in hand with child abuse.

Prevention is the best way to combat child abuse. Early intervention to prevent and treat substance abuse and domestic violence can reduce the incidence of abuse against children.

MINIMIZE opportunities for abuse.

Those who abuse children need the opportunity to do so. They take advantage of one-on-one situations to gain a child’s trust. Avoid one-on-one adult/child situations by setting boundaries with other adults. As a parent, you have the right to say no to adults who want to be alone with your child. If they object to you being present during their time with your child, ask yourself, “Why?”

MONITOR internet and cell phone use.

New technology is one of the easiest ways for a child abuser to gain access to your child.

  • Know who your child is talking to online, including social media, text messages, chat rooms, and instant messaging.
  • Restrict access to certain websites and always have the passcode for any account or phone your child may have.
  • Have the computer located in a well-traveled section of the house, where you can monitor its use.
  • Limit the personal information your child uses online.
  • Limit cell phone use through restricted minutes or certain hours where the child can use the phone. After this time, the child must place the phone where it can be adequately monitored.

ENCOURAGE parenting/child education.

Many incidents of child abuse and neglect can be prevented with proper education. Encourage your community to offer parenting education and support. Also, teach your child about their body, what abuse is, and that they have the right to say “no,” even to an adult, if they feel uncomfortable.

BE ALERT with children who have physical or developmental disabilities.

Abusers choose children who they can easily connect with and who are unlikely to tell about the abuse. They will target children who are vulnerable, those they can make “feel special,” and often exploit physical, developmental and emotional problems to do this.


Be active in your child’s life! Drop into sports practices, tutoring sessions, etc. Know their friends’ parents. If you are a presence, especially an unexpected one, your child is not as accessible to predators. Communicate with your child and make sure to LISTEN.