What Is Involved in a Child Abuse Intervention?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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The process of a child abuse intervention may vary according to the jurisdiction where abuse occurs. Intervention often begins, however, with someone contacting authorities at the earliest suspicion of a child being harmed. After initial contact is made, authorities launch a child abuse investigation. In most jurisdictions, if abuse is suspected of occurring in a child’s home, the child will be removed from the home pending further investigation. If allegations of abuse are found to be true, child abuse intervention will likely include the criminal prosecution of the abuser, as well as therapy and other supportive services to help a child recover from the abuse she or he has suffered.

Child abuse intervention is necessary to rescue children from harmful situations. Such harm includes gross neglect, physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse or emotional abuse at the hands of an adult. Child-on-child abuse also occurs between siblings and other children, and may be reported for further investigation, as well. Child abuse victims do not always volunteer information about the abuse they are suffering and it is therefore important for individuals noticing signs of child abuse, such as skin abrasions, depression and negative behavioral changes, to contact authorities with this information so a child abuse intervention can begin.


In many parts of the world, special hot lines have been established to make reporting child abuse an anonymous activity. In the absence of such a service, however, local police departments, social service agencies, doctors or school teachers can be contacted to begin a child abuse intervention effort. These individuals are usually trained to handle such reports and can usually help rescue a child in need.

As part of a child abuse intervention, a thorough investigation into the claims of abuse is necessary. Social service authorities will usually begin by questioning a child, as well as the child’s parents and others who can offer insight into the child’s life and help determine whether or not she or he is being harmed. If the abuse is suspected to involve someone living in the child’s home, the child may be temporarily removed from the home and placed in a protective shelter, such as a foster home, until it is determined whether or not abuse claims are valid. If abuse is found to be taking place in a child’s home, the abuser will likely be removed from the household and the child may or may not be returned to the home at the discretion of social workers, court magistrates and other authorities participating in the investigation.

After a successful child abuse intervention, special counselors trained and experienced in providing therapy for child abuse victims will usually be assigned to help a child process what has happened. Throughout the recovery process, authorities will continue to work to ensure the child’s safety and recovery. Many times, social workers, therapists and others who provide child abuse help and supportive services will continue to be involved in that child’s life for a number of years until it is determined that the child is thriving.


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Post 2

@Pippinwhite -- And sometimes those emergency interventions can be downright dangerous. Law enforcement officers have been shot or attacked by family members if they have to remove a child from the home.

There's a reason most states allow anonymous reporting. Some people know something is going on, but they're too afraid of reprisals to say anything if they think the parents will find out they called the cops.

Post 1

Some interventions are emergencies and the child may be taken from school to a foster home, rather than being allowed to return home.

My dad was a teacher and I don't remember how many times he called the department of children's services to report suspected abuse of a child. If it was a girl, he would usually get one of the female teachers to talk to her. I remember one very sad case where the child was not bathing and my dad got one of the teachers to talk to her. It turned out the mother's boyfriend had been sexually abusing her and she stopped bathing to try to keep him from touching her.

In that case, a social worker

picked the student up after school and immediately put her in foster care. I remember the mother coming to the school and calling my dad every name in the book, but he didn't care. He was too appalled at the situation.

The boyfriend was arrested and the mother was also charged as an accessory. She had about five children, and all were placed in foster care. Tragic case.

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