Monday, April 21, 2008

Indicators of Possible Child Abuse

Indicators of Possible Child Abuse

How can we ever stop child abuse if we don’t understand how children that have been abused present? The following is a short list of indicators. Please understand that indictors in each category may pertain to more than one type of abuse or neglect. For example, “lack of concentration” could be a sign of sexual abuse, as well as emotional abuse. Also understand that these indictors by no means conclusively prove that a child has been abused. They are merely a guide of what child abuse could look like and indicators tend to happen in clusters with many being seen at the same time.

PHYSICAL ABUSE
1. Unexplained burns, cuts, bruises, or welts
2. Bite marks
3. Anti-social behavior
4. Problems in school
5. Fear of adults

EMOTIONAL ABUSE
1. Apathy
2. Depression
3. Hostility or stress
4. Lack of concentration
5. Eating disorders

SEXUAL ABUSE
1. Inappropriate interest or knowledge of sexual acts
2. Nightmares and bed wetting
3. Drastic changes in appetite
4. Over-compliance or excessive aggression
5. Fear of a particular person or family member
6. Abrupt change in personality

NEGLECT
1. Unsuitable clothing for weather
2. Dirty or unwashed
3. Extreme hunger
4. Apparent lack of supervision
5. Persistent lice
6. Medical needs not being addressed



If a child tells you about their abuse

1. Be approachable- ready to talk and listen

2. Always remain calm- may reaffirm child’s fears if you appear upset or angry
3. Reassure them you are glad they told you
4. Don’t make any promises
5. Don’t keep it a secret
6. Seek the appropriate help immediately and don’t investigate yourself
7. Call Local Law Enforcement or 1-800-96-Abuse

How to Reinforce Personal Safety at Home

1. Always be approachable, let kids know they can always come to you with problems or questions

2. List trusted adults they can talk to
3. Use appropriate correct names for body parts
4. Have touching rules in your family
5. Watch videos or read books about personal safety
6. Role play “ what if “ situations
7. Let them know that it is ok to say no to an adult who wants to touch their private parts
8. Let them know they have a right in who touches them
9. Never force a child to be affectionate with you or others – it sends a confusing message

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