If you find these possible signs of emotional abuse...
  • Babies who spend long periods of time in their crib without a parent checking on them;

  • Babies who do not respond or show happiness when you pay attention to them;

  • Toddlers or preschoolers who look sad or withdrawn, or who frequently fight with other children;

  • Children who seem to have no friends;

  • Parents who seem depressed or unhappy, or who never show joy in being a parent;

  • Familes that seem to have few visitors or close friends.

...this is what you can do:

  • Be a friend to the child. Offer extra warmth and attention. Deep down, every child wants to be loved.

  • Be a friend to the parent. Find ways to help: offer to babysit, or help out in the home, for example.

  • Let other people know. A school counselor, for example, may be able to spend time with the child and find ways to talk to the parent in a way that will not be ignored.

If you have concerns that serious emotional or physical neglect is occurring, you should call the police or child protective services in your community [see our hotlines page].

You may not want to make these calls. Some people think that the child will automatically be taken from the home. This does not happen. Child protection workers only remove a child if there is a serious threat to the child's health or well-being.