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Child Abuse and Neglect

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Through clinical care and legislative lobbying efforts, Marshfield Clinic supports efforts to eliminate child abuse and neglect. 

Specially trained physicians provide medical exams, assessment and treatment of suspected child abuse cases in a child-friendly environment.​​​​​​​​​​


What You Can Do to Prevent Child Abuse

Teenaged girl sitting on steps with a sad look upon her face.

Child abuse can happen in any family and in any neighborhood. Studies have shown that child abuse crosses all boundaries of income, race, ethnic heritage, and religious faith.

The incidence is higher, however, in families in which the parents are in their mid-20s; high school dropouts or lack a high school diploma; below the poverty level or financially stressed; stressed because of a loss of job or home; or have a history of intergenerational abuse, alcohol, or substance abuse problems, a history of depression, or spouse abuse.

Stopping abuse

Prevent Child Abuse America offers these tips for stopping child abuse:

  • Try to understand your children. Learn how kids behave and what they can do at different ages. Have realistic expectations and be reasonable if children fall short.

  • Keep your children healthy. Denying children food, sleep, or healthcare is abuse by neglect.

  • Get help with alcohol or drug problems. Keep children away from anyone who abuses those substances.

  • Watch your words. Angry or punishing language can leave emotional scars for a lifetime.

  • Get control of yourself before disciplining a child. Set clear rules so the child knows what to expect. Avoid physical punishment.

  • Take a time-out. Stop if you begin to act out frustration or other emotions physically. Find someone to talk with or watch your kids while you take a walk. Call a child abuse prevention hotline if you are worried you may hit your child.

  • Make your home a violence-free zone. Turn off violent TV shows and don't let kids stay under the same roof with an abusive adult.

  • Join a support program for new parents.

  • Take regular breaks from your children. This will give you a release from the stress of parenting full-time.

Remember that child abuse often repeats itself in the next generation. By doing what you can to prevent it today, you can help save children's lives far into the future.

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Contact us for care

If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Call: 1-866-520-2510

(Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

What Do You Know About Child Development?

Test your knowledge of child development by taking this quiz.

1. When riding in a motor vehicle, how tall should a child be to sit in a regular seat and use an adult seat belt instead of a being strapped into a car safety seat or booster seat?
2. For which of these should you call your doctor instead of trying at-home treatment?
3. Two out of 3 teen girls don't get enough of which of these in their diet?
4. How much has the rate of obesity in children increased in the last 35 years?
5. Menstruation can begin at which of these ages in girls?
6. It's estimated that 3 to 7 percent of American school children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Which of these famous people is thought to have had the condition?