The purpose of this study was to determine how public health nurses in Finland defined child abuse and how they assessed their capability to identify child abuse in the family. Public health nurses described child abuse as consisting of physical and emotional abuse. They described physical abuse as consisting of two categories, direct physical abuse towards children and other acts causing children physical harm. Emotional abuse included neglect, teasing the child, frightening the child, rejecting the child in the family, and forcing the child to assume an adult role. The nurses divided the identification of child abuse into two categories: tools for identifying child abuse and markers indicating child abuse. The tools for identifying abuse included knowledge acquisition and interactive skills, intuition, and the capacity of the nurse to handle problematic situations. Public health nurses identified child abuse in the child's behavior and appearance and in family behaviors. Public health nurses seem to be aware of child abuse, but further research is needed if they need more-specific skills regarding how to apply their theoretical knowledge to nursing practice to provide nursing care for abused children and their families.