Indicators of Child Abuse

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SIGNS OF CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT

Child abuse comes in many forms. Different types of abuse and neglect manifest as different physical and behavioral indicators.

Simply by listening and paying attention to a child’s behavior, much can be learned about a child’s personal experiences. These valuable insights may help you prevent a child from further abuse and harm.

CHILD NEGLECT INDICATORS

Physical Indicators of Neglect

  • Consistent hunger, poor hygiene, inappropriate dress
  • Consistent lack of supervision, especially in dangerous activities or long periods
  • Constant fatigue or listlessness
  • Unattended physical problems or medical needs
  • Abandonment

BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS OF NEGLECT

  • Begging, stealing food
  • Extended stays at school (early arrival and late departure)
  • Constantly falling asleep in class
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Delinquency (e.g. thefts)
  • States there is no caregiver

PHYSICAL ABUSE INDICATORS

UNEXPLAINED BRUISES AND WELTS:

  • On face, lips, mouth
  • On torso, back, buttocks, thighs
  • In various stages of healing
  • Cluster, forming regular patterns
  • Reflecting shape of article used to inflict (electric cord, belt buckle)
  • On several different surface areas
  • Regularly appear after absence, weekend or vacation

UNEXPLAINED BURNS:

  • Cigar, cigarette burns, especially on soles, palms, back or buttocks
  • Immersion burns (sock-like, glove-like doughnut shaped on buttocks or genitalia)
  • Patterned like electric burner, iron, etc.
  • Rope burns on arms, legs, neck or torso

UNEXPLAINED FRACTURES:

  • To skull, nose, facial structure
  • In various stages of healing
  • Multiple or spiral fractures

UNEXPLAINED LACERATIONS & ABRASIONS:

  • To mouth, lips, gums, eyes
  • To limbs and buttocks
  • To external genitalia

BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS OF PHYSICAL ABUSE

  • Wary of adult contact
  • Apprehensive when other children cry

BEHAVIORAL EXTREMES:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Withdrawal
  • Frightened of parents
  • Afraid to go home
  • Reports injury by parents

EMOTIONAL ABUSE INDICATOR

  • Habit disorders (sucking, biting, rocking, etc.)
  • Conduct disorders (antisocial, destructive, etc.)
  • Neurotic traits (sleep disorders, speech disorders, inhibition of play)

BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE

OVERLY ADOPTIVE BEHAVIOR:

  • Inappropriately adult behavior
  • Inappropriately infant behavior

BEHAVIORAL EXTREMES:

  • Compliant, passive
  • Aggressive, demanding

 

SEXUAL ABUSE INDICATORS

  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
  • Pain or itching in genital area
  • Bruises or bleeding in external genitalia, vaginal or anal areas
  • Venereal disease, especially in pre-teens
  • Pregnancy

BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS OF SEXUAL ABUSE

  • Unwilling to change for gym or participate in PE
  • Withdrawn, fantasy or infantile behavior
  • Bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual behavior or knowledge
  • Poor peer-to-peer relationships
  • Delinquent or run away
  • Reports sexual assault by caregiver

 

The abuse may be brief, but the trauma lasts a lifetime.
Kids' lives and futures are on the line!
Be the voice against neglect and contribute to end child maltreatment today.

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