Signs of Abuse


Recognizing Abuse

Most abused children will not report it. Often you will witness it in their behavior and many of them share similar characteristics. If you notice one or more of the following, there is a possibility that abuse has occurred:

  • mood swings

  • withdrawal depression

  • bed wetting, eating problems

  • fear of adults

  • sleeping problems/nightmares

  • self-destructive behaviors

  • frequent school absences/tardiness

  • strange bruises

  • burns or bites

  • child reports abuse.


Physical Neglect: Physical Neglect is the failure to provide for a child’s physical needs. This includes lack of supervision, inappropriate housing or shelter, inadequate provision of food, inappropriate clothing for season or weather, abandonment, denial of medical care, or inadequate hygiene.

Physical Abuse: Any non-accidental injury to a child. This includes hitting, kicking, slapping, shaking, burning, pinching, hair pulling, biting, choking, throwing, shoving, whipping, or paddling.

Emotional Abuse: Any attitude or behavior that interferes with a child’s mental health or social development. This includes yelling, screaming,kid in corner name-calling, shaming, negative comparisons to others, telling children they are “bad”, “no good”, “worthless”, or “a mistake”.

Sexual Abuse: Any sexual act between an adult and child for the gratification of the adult. This includes fondling, intercourse, penetration, exploitation, pornography, exhibitionism, child prostitution, group sex, oral sex, or forced observation of sexual acts.

Emotional Neglect: Emotional neglect is the failure to provide affection and support necessary for the development of emotional, social, physical, and intellectual well being of a child. This includes ignoring, lack of appropriate verbal an physical affection, withdrawal of attention, lack of praise, or lack of positive reinforcement.