NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – At least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse or neglect in the past year in the United States.

Child abuse and neglect are serious public health problems that can have long-term impacts on a child’s health and well-being. There are four common types of abuse and neglect to look out for. Sometimes the signs of child abuse can be easy to spot, like a broken bone or a bad bruise. But often times child abuse can’t be seen as it can be emotional or even sexual.

Many states recognize abandonment, parental substance use, and human trafficking as abuse or neglect. While some of these types of abuse may be found separately they can occur in combination.

Hampshire County saw a 40-percent increase in the number of children in need of services in 2021. In 2020, nearly 1,800 children died of abuse and neglect in the United States.

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Hampshire County believes that it is crucial to start a dialogue as a community to stop all forms of violence targeted at innocent lives.

“If you have any concerns over a child we strongly recommend that you make a report. It’s not your job to know and investigate, it’s your job to let the people who do that investigate so you call DCF to make a report. You may be the only person that recognizes that something is going on with a child and we need you to step up and tell somebody,” Kara McElhone Executive Director of Children’s Advocacy Center of Hampshire County.

Anyone who suspects a child is being abused, neglected, or exploited can call the 24-hour DCF Child Protection Hotline at 1-800-792-5200.