This is related to a discussion on potential child abuse in a Carolyn Hax chat, with someone asking what to do if you're unsure of the situation.
You can also be nice to these kids. Past discussions of dysfunctional households have turned this up as a theme, that the kindness of outside adults is a lifeline, even if you don't get any more involved than to say hello.
I want to witness for the fact that this is TRUE. A kind shopkeeper who gives you 6 lollies for a cent, instead of 5. A friend of your deceased grandmother who holds your sweaty little hand as you cross the big road. A teacher who tells you in primary school that your test results are off the scale, and you start believing that maybe you aren't "as thick as pigshit" after all. An unfailingly gentle and kind young male teacher who makes history come alive with medieval dress-ups and facts disguised as stories. A young hippy-ish couple who pay a few dollars semi-regularly for me to baby-sit their toddler, and in doing so, and much more importantly, provide a quiet safe space away from the chaos at home.
These moments add up. They give you hope. They help you understand there are some decent caring people in the world. That some people live without constant violence, or the threat of it. And that maybe one day, there is something better to look forward to.