Child abuse isn’t always bruises and broken bones. Sometimes it can be difficult to know the signs of an abused child, especially if they are abused sexually, mentally or emotionally. No child should have to endure any kind of abuse. It is our duty as a society to be an advocate and help a child who needs support and guidance when in an abused situation. Below are signs which may suggest a child is being abused.
- The most obvious sign of child abuse is physical abuse. Visible signs of physical abuse may include broken bones, burns or bruises. Typically, when the child is asked about their injuries their explanations are unconvincing.
- Changes in a child’s behavior should raise your suspicions. Abuse can lead to several changes in a child’s behavior. Children who are abused often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive. They begin to perform poorly in school and act out in negative ways.
- Some abused children may revert back to behaviors they displayed in their earlier ages. These behaviors may include thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, fear of darkness or strangers, nightmares, etc. For some children, even loss of acquired language or memory problems may be an issue.
- If a child is being abuse at home, the child may show apprehension or anxiety about leaving school and going home to the person abusing them. If you see these behaviors talk to the child. The child may open up to you. If it is determined the child is being abused, call your local police department immediately.
- Children who are being sexually abused may show signs of age-inappropriate awareness and knowledge of sex or sexual behavior. The child may run away from home, attempt suicide or involve themselves with drugs and prostitution.
- A child who is neglected may be significantly underweight or overweight. The child can be developmentally delayed. The child may appear sick and tired, dirty, have poor hygiene and be inadequately clothed.
- Deputy Jodi Wolfe