What is Child Abuse? It is any mistreatment or neglect of a child that results in non-accidental harm or injury and consists of four types: physical, emotional, sexual and neglect. Physical abuse accounts for about one in four substantiated cases of child abuse. It is the most visible form of abuse and may be defined as any act that results in a non-accidental trauma or physical injury. Emotional abuse is commonly defined as the systematic emotional tearing down of another human being. It is considered a pattern of behavior that can seriously interfere with a child's positive development. Emotional abuse is probably the least understood of all child abuse, yet it can be the cruelest and most destructive of all types of abuse. Sexual abuse is defined as the involvement of dependent, developmentally immature children in sexual activities that they do not fully comprehend and therefore to which they are unable to give informed consent. It consists of any misuse of a child for sexual pleasure or gratification. Child neglect constitutes more than half of all substantiated cases of child abuse. It is the most common form of child maltreatment reported to child protective services. It is defined as a type of maltreatment that refers to the failure to provide needed age-appropriate care, such as shelter, food, clothing, education, supervision, medical care, and other basic necessities needed for development of physical, intellectual, and emotional capacities. Most abused and neglected children never come to the attention of government authorities because some do not even realize that their rights are being violated. Therefore, official government statistics do not indicate actual rates of child abuse but only those that are reported. Professionals who interact with children such as teachers, day-care workers, pediatricians, and police officers may fail to recognize or report abuse. Many researchers believe that statistics based on official reports do not accurately reflect the prevalence of child abuse.