What are Signs of Child Abuse?
- Unexplained Injuries: bruises, swelling, burns, bleeding
- Changes in mood or behaviors (unusual hostility or aggression)
- Trust Issues
- Returning to earlier age behaviors
- Fear of going home
- Fear or dislike of certain people or places
- Changes in sleeping or eating
- Changes in school performance or attendance
- Lack of personal care or hygiene
- Risk-taking behaviors
- Advanced sexual knowledge or behaviors
These are just a few potential indicators of child abuse or neglect. There may be other signs. Some warning signs may be more obvious than others, trust your instincts. You do not need proof, suspected abuse is enough reason to make a report.
What Is Child Abuse or Neglect?
Child abuse or neglect is any action, inaction, or statement that results in injury or the risk of harm for a child younger than 18-years of age. Child abuse can be physical, verbal, emotional or sexual.
Physical abuse is the use of intentional physical force, such as hitting, kicking, shaking, burning or other show of force against a child. It is also any action or inaction by the caregiver that places the child in harm’s way.
Neglect is omissions in care resulting in significant harm or risk of harm to a child. Neglect is frequently defined in terms of a failure to provide for one’s basic needs, such as inadequate food, clothing, shelter, supervision, affection, education or medical care.
Sexual abuse is any sexual activity with a child. It includes fondling,oral-genital contact, intercourse,indecent exposure, sexual acts performed in a child’s presence for sexual gratification or child pornography. Child sexual abuse is also the willful failure of a caretaker to make a reasonable effort to stop a child from being sexual abused.
Emotional abuse is repeated behaviors or extreme incident(s) that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being. It includes verbal and emotional assault, such as continually belittling or berating a child, isolating, ignoring, indifference or rejecting a child, or constant family conflict.
It is not uncommon for a child to endure multiple forms of child maltreatment simultaneously.
Child abuse does not discriminate…happens to both girls and boys; rich or poor; all races, cultures, or backgrounds; agnostic or churchgoers. Child abuse occurs in every community.