Child Abuse



Child abuse happens when a parent or caretaker acts or fails to act on the behalf of a child and the result is death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or something else that presents an imminent risk of serious harm.




Child abuse is categorized as:

  • Neglect
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse or
  • Emotional abuse

Neglect occurs when a child's caretaker doesn't provide for that child's basic needs such as food, clothing or shelter.

Physical abuse happens when a child is beaten, kicked, shaken, thrown, stabbed, choked or otherwise physically injured. Such injuries are considered abuse whether or not the caretaker 'intended' to hurt the child.

Sexual abuse involves activities such as fondling a child's genitals, penetration, incest, rape, sodomy, etc. by a parent or caretaker.

Emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that harms a child's emotional development or sense of self worth. It may result from criticism, threats, rejection, withholding love, etc.

If a caretaker engages in any of the above activities, the child is in danger.


Child Abuse Facts:
In Kentucky 88,292 children were reported abused or neglected in 2008, according to the Department for Community Based Services TWIST system. Seventy-two percent of these reports were about neglect with 21 percent reporting physical abuse, 6 percent reporting sexual abuse and 1 percent reporting emotional abuse. In that same year, 30 children in Kentucky died as a result of child abuse and neglect.

Child abuse is a crime. There is help available for families who face this problem. Receiving that help is critical for the health and well-being of Kentucky's children.


The Nest offers classes and support for parents who want to learn about encouraging and protecting their children.

To talk with someone at The Nest about concerns related to child abuse, contact:
Sharon Kopyc, Director of Clinical & Community Services

Thank you to Toyota and Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky for supporting this program.

To make a confidential report in Kentucky call 1-877-597-2331