Visitor Question

What constitutes mental and emotional abuse of children?

Submitted By: Anonymous (New York)

I have been ridiculed and put down daily by my mother. She calls me (mostly me but also my siblings) things such as worthless and stupid. She often puts us down and is overall detached from us. She has occasionally physically abused me and my older brother.

I’m currently 17 and am concerned for my last year living here and for my siblings who will live here for another 8 years. How much evidence is needed to determine if this is actually child abuse or not? I don’t want to file a claim and have it get dismissed as then my mother will be more abusive. What can be done? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Anonymous,

Psychological abuse by parental figures is to be taken very seriously. Psychological abuse, coupled with physical abuse may be enough for the State of New York to become involved.

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services, through its Bureau of Adult Services, is responsible for the oversight of Protective Services for Adults (PSA) and other adult services provided through the local departments of social services.

If you want to report the abuse to the proper authorities, contact:

New York Child Protective Services: 1-800-342-3720

You can also call the National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4ACHILD (1-800-422-4453)

If the abuse is ongoing, and you have a fear of imminent bodily injury against you or your siblings, call 911.

Evidence needed to involve Child Protective Services is dependent upon each set of circumstances. If you would like Child Protective Services to become involved, contact them immediately.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,


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One thought on “What constitutes mental and emotional abuse of children?

  1. Kylie says:

    I told CPS and a Court Psychologist that my mother called me names and they didn’t care. She called me horrible names and told me she hated me constantly. She hit me, pulled my hair, kicked me etc.

    CPS would take the report and then after talking to her they always believed her. She just told them she was religious and showed them her bible and said we were horrible and disrespectful liars.

    So don’t expect anything to happen because mental abuse is the hardest thing to prove and I’m sure she wont admit it, so it’s your word against hers and she’s going to blame and lie!

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