Child Abuse

Turning Point exists to end domestic abuse, sexual assault, and child abuse through safe shelter, advocacy, prevention, and social change.

Child maltreatment or abuse refers to any non-accidental behavior by parents, caregivers, other adults or older adolescents that is outside the norms of conduct and entails a substantial risk of causing physical or emotional harm to a child or young person.

Child maltreatment is commonly divided into five main subtypes:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional maltreatment
  • Neglect
  • Sexual abuse
  • Exposure to family violence

Program FAQs

  • How much does the Tree House appointment cost?
    • They are FREE.
  • Can anyone refer a child to Turning Point’s Tree House Children’s Advocacy Center?
    • No. Only law enforcement and child protective services can make referrals to the Tree House, however, please call the crisis line if you have questions and would like to be seen. The Family Advocate can assist you in this process.
  • What happens if a child does not receive assistance, support, and safety if they’ve been abused?
    • Child abuse and neglect disrupt healthy brain architecture and cause a toxic stress reaction in the child’s brain. The Adverse Child Experiences Study found that children who did not get help had increased risk for the following health problems later in life: alcoholism, obesity, COPD, some cancers, risk for intimate partner violence, unintended pregnancies, early initiation of sexual activity, suicide attempts, smoking, STDs, and depression.

What is Child Abuse

  • Recognizing child abuse
    • Signs in the child:
      • Sudden changes in behavior or school performance
      • Overt sexualized behavior or exhibits sexual knowledge not consistent with their age
      • Not receiving medical treatment
      • Always watchful
      • Overly compliant, an overachiever, or too responsible
      • Has unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones, or black eyes
      • Has fading bruises or marks often after an absence from school
      • Shrinks at the approach of adults
      • Lacks clothing, cleanliness, food, or supervision
    • Signs in the caregiver:
      • Shows little concern for the child
      • Unresponsive to schools requests for information
      • Demands perfection on a level the child cannot achieve
      • Offers conflicting, unconvincing information about injuries of their child
      • Uses harsh discipline
  • Stats
    • 1 in every 4 girls will be a victim of sexual abuse by their 18th birthday
    • 1 in every 6 boys will be a victim of sexual abuse by their 18th birthday
    • 92% of victims know the perpetrator of the abuse.
    • 9 out of 10 children never tell anyone about the abuse
    • 75% of disclosures of abuse are accidental.
  • How to help your child. What to say.
    • I believe you.
    • I know it’s not your fault.
    • I’m sorry this happened to you.
    • I will take care of you and keep you safe.

What is a children’s advocacy center? What services are provided?

A Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is about teamwork – bringing the agency professionals involved in a child abuse case together on the front end – and about putting the needs of the child survivor first.  So rather than having a child taken from agency to agency throughout the law enforcement and child protection systems, and having to endure multiple, sequential interviews, the CAC model brings the system to the child, and brings the agency professionals together to work in a collaborative approach that results in effective, efficient  and child-centered casework. Click here to view the CAC model.

    • 24 hour crisis line – 704.283.7770 – trained staff and volunteers are available to support you and answer your questions
      • Call DSS to report suspected abuse or neglect.
    • Hospital accompaniment – 24 hour response to Carolinas Heathcare System’s CMC Union and CMC Waxhaw – trained staff and volunteers are available to assist sexual assault/abuse survivors and their loved ones at the hospital
    • Professional Counseling – counseling is available to children and their non-offending caregivers
    • Support Groups – for teens survivors of abuse
    • Family Advocacy – meet with a trained Family Advocate at Turning Point who can help you through this entire process
      • Assist with safety planning, legal paperwork, court accompaniment, court education, referrals to community resources, NC Address Confidentiality Program, and crisis intervention
    • Forensic Interview – A structured conversation with the child that allows the child to tell their story once. The interview is recorded and provided to the investigators of the abuse.
    • Medical Exam – A complete, head-to-toe medical exam provided by a physician from Union County Division of Public Health that is provided on site to gather evidence and promote the emotional well-being of the child by letting him/her know their body is okay in spite of what has happened.
    • Trauma Assessment – Conducted with parents of children 0-12 and teens 13-18 to determine how the abuse/trauma has affected them and inform therapists on how to proceed.
    • Prevention/Education – Have one of our trained staff come to your group and train you on the 5 steps to protecting children. We have staff that provide Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children. For information on this evidence based training program, visit