Fifty-four abused and neglected children have been referred to our multidisciplinary team for assessment and treatment. There were many more boys than girls (36 vs 18) and the mean age was 3.3 years. Half of the children were admitted for medical reasons and abuse or neglect were secondary findings. The medical findings included bruises and fractures, head injuries, knife wounds, and failure to thrive. The children's main characteristics were: "difficult children," unwanted pregnancies, difficult pregnancies and deliveries and half of them were separated from their mothers during the first months of life due to illness. The families were characteristic of multiproblem families of low social level. Almost all parents were young when married and half were unemployed or had unsteady employment. In most cases the parents were socially isolated and had poor relations with their families of origin. Most mothers and half of the fathers had an unhappy childhood while almost half of the mothers had a psychiatric problem. In general, our findings were in accordance with those described in other nations. Nevertheless, there were some characteristics which seem to be of relevance within the Greek ethnic and cultural context. The legal problems as well as those pertaining to child protection are discussed.