Signs and Symptoms of Child Abuse

Signs of Emotional Abuse

  • Behavioral change tends to reflect the anxiety that results from a stressful situation of any type
  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Lack of Concentration
  • Reports a Lack of attachment to the parent
  • Excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong
  • Acts either inappropriately adult (taking care of other children) or inappropriately infantile (rocking, thumb-sucking, tantruming)
  • Extremely passive or aggressive behavior

 Signs of Physical Abuse

  • Unexplainable changes in the child’s body or behavior
  • Any injury (bruise, burn, fracture, abdominal or head injury) that cannot be explained
  • Is always watchful and “on alert,” as if waiting for something bad to happen
  • Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home
  • Appears to be afraid of adults
  • Wears inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries, i.e. long-sleeved shirts on hot days
  • School failure
  • Headaches or stomachaches with no medical cause

Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Extreme sexual behavior that seems inappropriate for the child’s age
  • Genital pain or bleeding, as well as a sexually transmitted disease
  • Doesn’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities
  • Runs away from home
  • Has trouble walking or sitting
  • Nightmares or bedwetting
  • Has a sudden change in appetite
  • Fear of a particular person or family member

Signs of Neglect

  • Frequently absent from school
  • Steals food or money
  • Consistently poor hygiene
  • Lacks the appropriate clothing for weather
  • Is frequently unsupervised, left alone, or allowed to play in unsafe situations and environments
  • Lacks needed medical or dental care