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What is Child Abuse & Neglect

Indicators of Physical Abuse

  • Unexplained bruises and welts
  • Unexplained burns
  • Behavioral extremes (withdrawal, aggression, regression, depression)
  • Inappropriate or excessive fear of a parent or guardian
  • Antisocial behavior such as substance abuse, truancy or running away
  • Reluctance to return home
  • Suggestion that other children should be punished in a harsh manner
  • Unbelievable or inconsistent explanations for injuries
  • Lies very still while surveying surroundings (for infants)
  • Unusual shyness, wariness of physical contact

Indicators of Sexual Abuse

  • Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
  • Frequent, unexplained sore throats, yeast infections or urinary infections
  • pain and irritation of the genitals
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Bruises or bleeding from external genitalia, vagina or anal region
  • Pregnancy
  • The victim’s disclosure of sexual abuse
  • Poor peer relationships
  • Regressive behaviors (thumb sucking, bed wetting, fear of the dark)
  • Promiscuity or seductive behaviors
  • Disturbed sleep patterns (recurring nightmares)
  • Unusual and age-inappropriate interest in sexual matters
  • Age-inappropriate ways of expressing affection
  • Avoidance of undressing or wearing extra layers of clothes
  • Sudden decline in school performance, truancy
  • Difficulty with walking or sitting

Indicators of Neglect

  • Poor hygiene, including lice, scabies, severe or untreated diaper rash, bedsores, body odor
  • Squinting
  • Unsuitable clothing; missing key articles of clothing (underwear, socks, shoes); overdressed or underdressed for climate conditions
  • Untreated illness or injury
  • Lack of immunizations
  • Indicators of prolonged exposure to elements (excessive sunburn, insect bites, colds)
  • Height and weight significantly below age level
  • Unusual school attendance (coming early, leaving late)
  • Chronic absenteeism
  • Chronic hunger, tiredness or lethargy
  • Begging or collecting leftovers
  • Assuming adult responsibilitiesReporting no guardian in the home