What are Signs Of Child Abuse?
1. Unexplained Injuries
2. Changes in behavior
3. Returning to earlier age behaviors
4. Fear of going home or to certain places.
5. Changes in sleeping
6. Changes in eating
7. Changes in school performance and attendance
8. Lack of personal care or hygiene
9. Risk-taking behaviors
10. Inappropriate sexual behaviors
These are a few indicators of child abuse but are not limited to these signs. Some signs of child abuse are more obvious than others. Suspected abuse is enough reason to contact authorities. You do not need proof.
What Is Abuse?
Warning: May contain graphic descriptions of child abuse; while we understand this can be upsetting, we feel that knowledge is the power that is needed to stop child abuse and neglect.
• Physical Abuse
Physical abuse involves actions that cause physical injury, such as bruises and fractures that result from:
Hitting with a hand, stick, strap, or other object
While injury resulting from physical abuse is not accidental, the parent or caregiver may not have intended to hurt the child. The injury may have resulted from severe discipline, including injurious spanking, or physical punishment that is inappropriate to the child's age or condition.
• Sexual Abuse
Child sexual abuse generally refers to sexual acts, sexually motivated behaviors, or sexual exploitation involving children. Child sexual abuse includes a wide range of behaviors, such as:
Inadequate or inappropriate supervision of a child's voluntary sexual activities
Use of a child in prostitution, pornography, Internet crimes, or other sexually exploitative Oral, anal, or genital penile penetration
Anal or genital digital or other penetration
Genital contact with no intrusion
Fondling of a child's breasts or buttocks
Sexual abuse includes both touching offenses (fondling or sexual intercourse) and non-touching offenses (exposing a child to pornographic materials) and can involve varying degrees of violence and emotional trauma.
Child neglect is generally characterized by omissions in care resulting in significant harm or risk of significant harm to a child. Neglect is frequently defined in terms of a failure to provide for one’s basic needs, such as inadequate food, clothing, shelter, supervision, or medical care. Some acts of neglect include:
Reckless disregard for the child's safety and welfare
Refusal or delay in health or mental care
Abandonment or expulsion from the home
Inadequate nutrition, clothing, or hygiene
Conspicuous inattention to avoidable hazards in the home
Permitted chronic truancy
Exposure to chronic or extreme spousal abuse
Permitted drug or alcohol abuse
Inadequate nurturing or affection
• Emotional Abuse
“Emotional abuse or psychological maltreatment is a repeated pattern of caregiver behavior or extreme incident(s) that convey to children that they are worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted, endangered, or only of value in meeting another's needs”. (Hart & Brassard).
Spurning - belittling, hostile rejecting, ridiculing
Terrorizing - threatening violence against a child, placing a child in a recognizably dangerous situation
Isolating - confining the child, placing unreasonable limitations on the child's freedom of movement, restricting the child from social interactions
Exploiting or corrupting - modeling antisocial behavior such as criminal activities, encouraging prostitution, permitting substance abuse
Denying emotional responsiveness - ignoring the child's attempts to interact
WHO DOES IT HAPPEN TO?
Child abuse does not discriminate…happens to both girls and boys; rich or poor; all races, cultures, or backgrounds; agnostic or churchgoers. Child abuse occurs in all communities.
Every hour of every day, there is an allegation of child abuse:
1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before the age of 18.
1 in 5 children are solicited sexually while on the internet.
WHO DOES IT?
The familiar image of a molester as a pervert is not an accurate portrait of persons responsible for the sex abuse of children. In 80-90% of all reported child sexual abuse allegations, the offender is known by the child or other family members.
The offender may be professionally successful, socially prominent, or a person with low income, limited education. The offender may appear to be perfectly normal to people who know those who know him or her. He or she may be a boyfriend, girlfriend, family member, friend, neighbour, or a stranger. A child can be molested by another child.
Many Victims – One Perpetrator: 70% of child sex offenders report having between one and nine victims, 20% report having as many as 40 victims. Serial child molesters may have as many as 400 victims in their lifetime.
WHAT ARE LONG-TERM EFFECTS?
Health and Behavioral Problems: Sexually abused children who report their abuse and are not believed or do not receive appropriate care are at greater risk for psychological, emotional, social and physical problems throughout their lifetime. It is extremely important to react calmly, appropriately and remain supportive if a child reports abuse.
Drug and/or Alcohol Problems: Victims of child sexual abuse are at greater risk for developing drug and alcohol related problems. Reports indicate that as many as 80% of sexual abuse survivors use drugs and/or alcohol excessively.
Teenage Pregnancy and Sexual Health: Girls who are victims of sexual abuse at a young age are three times more likely to become pregnant before their 18th birthday. Reports indicate that as many as 60% of teenage pregnancies are preceded by sexual abuse and/or rape by a significantly older male. Statistics show that more than 75% of teenage victims of sexual trafficking (commonly referred to as teenage prostitution) have been sexually abused in their past.
Crime: Reports indicate that almost half of all incarcerated women report sexual abuse as a child and over 75% of serial rapists report child sexual abuse as well.