Signs of Child Abuse

Signs of Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is most of the time visible. Unexplained bruises and welts on the face, throat, upper arms, buttocks, thighs or lower back in unusual patterns or shapes which suggests the use of an instrument (belt buckle, electric cord, ropes) on an infant in various stages of healing regularly appear after absence, weekend, or vacation; unexplained burns, cigarette burns, especially found on palms, soles of feet, abdomen, buttocks immersion burns producing “stocking” or “Glove” demarcations on hands and feet; “doughnut shaped” on buttocks or genital area; rope burns; infected burns indicating delay in treatment burns in the shape of common household utensils or appliances.

Behavioral extremes are also evident (withdrawal, aggression, regression, depression); inappropriate or excessive fear of parent or caretaker; antisocial behavior such as substance abuse, truancy, running away fear of going home; unbelievable or inconsistent explanation for injuries; lies unusually still while surveying surroundings (for infants); unusual shyness, wariness of physical contact

Signs of Sexual Abuse

The child’s undergarments are likely to be stained with blood; frequent, unexplained sore throats, yeast or urinary infections; somatic complaints, including pain and irritation of the genitals; sexually transmitted diseases; bruises or bleeding from external genitalia, vagina or anal region; pregnancy; victim’s disclosure of sexual abuse; regressive behaviors (thumb-sucking, bedwetting, fear of the dark); promiscuity or seductive behaviors; disturbed sleep patterns (recurrent nightmares); unusual and age-inappropriate interest in sexual matters; avoidance of undressing or wearing extra layers of clothes; sudden decline in school performance, truancy; difficulty in walking or sitting

Signs of Emotional Abuse

The child shows eating disorders, including obesity or anorexia; speech disorders (stuttering, stammering); developmental delays in the acquisition of speech or motor skills; weight or height level substantially below norm; flat or bald spots on head (infants)
nervous disorders (rashes, hives, facial tics, stomach aches); habit disorders (biting, rocking, head-banging); cruel behavior, seeming to get pleasure from hurting children, adults or animals; seeming to get pleasure from being mistreated; age-inappropriate behaviors (bedwetting, wetting, soiling); behavioral extremes; overly compliant-demanding; withdrawn-aggressive; listless-excitable

Signs of Neglect

Neglecting children is also equivalent to child abuse. Child will be left with 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 injury or illness; lack of immunizations; prolonged exposure to elements (excessive sunburn, insect bites, colds); unusual school attendance; chronic absenteeism; chronic hunger, tiredness, or lethargy; begging or collecting leftovers; no caretaker at home.