Recognizing Child Abuse

Kyleigh - posted on 07/24/2011 ( 1 mom has responded )

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Recognizing Child Abuse
The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect.

The Child:
Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents' attention
Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
Lacks adult supervision
Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
The Parent:
Shows little concern for the child
Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child's problems in school or at home
Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs
The Parent and Child:
Rarely touch or look at each other
Consider their relationship entirely negative
State that they do not like each other
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Types of Abuse
The following are some signs often associated with particular types of child abuse and neglect: physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. It is important to note, however, that these types of abuse are more typically found in combination than alone. A physically abused child, for example, is often emotionally abused as well, and a sexually abused child also may be neglected.

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Signs of Physical Abuse
Consider the possibility of physical abuse when the child:

Has unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones, or black eyes
Has fading bruises or other marks noticeable after an absence from school
Seems frightened of the parents and protests or cries when it is time to go home
Shrinks at the approach of adults
Reports injury by a parent or another adult caregiver
Consider the possibility of physical abuse when the parent or other adult caregiver:

Offers conflicting, unconvincing, or no explanation for the child's injury
Describes the child as "evil," or in some other very negative way
Uses harsh physical discipline with the child
Has a history of abuse as a child
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Signs of Neglect
Consider the possibility of neglect when the child:

Is frequently absent from school
Begs or steals food or money
Lacks needed medical or dental care, immunizations, or glasses
Is consistently dirty and has severe body odor
Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather
Abuses alcohol or other drugs
States that there is no one at home to provide care
Consider the possibility of neglect when the parent or other adult caregiver:

Appears to be indifferent to the child
Seems apathetic or depressed
Behaves irrationally or in a bizarre manner
Is abusing alcohol or other drugs
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Signs of Sexual Abuse
Consider the possibility of sexual abuse when the child:

Has difficulty walking or sitting
Suddenly refuses to change for gym or to participate in physical activities
Reports nightmares or bedwetting
Experiences a sudden change in appetite
Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior
Becomes pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, particularly if under age 14
Runs away
Reports sexual abuse by a parent or another adult caregiver
Consider the possibility of sexual abuse when the parent or other adult caregiver:

Is unduly protective of the child or severely limits the child's contact with other children, especially of the opposite sex
Is secretive and isolated
Is jealous or controlling with family members
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Signs of Emotional Maltreatment
Consider the possibility of emotional maltreatment when the child:

Shows extremes in behavior, such as overly compliant or demanding behavior, extreme passivity, or aggression
Is either inappropriately adult (parenting other children, for example) or inappropriately infantile (frequently rocking or head-banging, for example)
Is delayed in physical or emotional development
Has attempted suicide
Reports a lack of attachment to the parent
Consider the possibility of emotional maltreatment when the parent or other adult caregiver:

Constantly blames, belittles, or berates the child
Is unconcerned about the child and refuses to consider offers of help for the child's problems
Overtly rejects the child

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