Child abuse is often not a single act but a repeated pattern of behavior. Below are some commonly recognized physical and behavioral warning signs that may indicate a child is being neglected or abused. Please note the signs listed are not the only indicators of child abuse and neglect and if present do not always mean a child is being abused or neglected.


  1. Injuries such as bruises, welts, cuts, burns or fractures-either unexplained or where the injury is not consistent with the explanation
  2. Injury in an area where children don't usually get hurt-the torso, back, neck, buttocks, thighs
  3. Repeated injury suggesting a pattern of abuse
  4. Delay in seeking medical treatment
  5. Attempts by a caretaker to hide an injury or seclude the child


  1. Inappropriate sexual knowledge on the part of the child
  2. Acting-out sex during play
  3. Chronic depression/withdrawal
  4. Poor self-esteem
  5. Extreme change in weight or appearance
  6. Difficulties at school or with peers
  7. Frequent urinary/yeast infections
  8. Pain or itching in genital or anal area
  9. Bleeding/bruising in genital or anal area
  10. Sexually transmitted disease/pregnancy


  1. Apathy
  2. Depression
  3. Hostility
  4. Withdrawn
  5. Lack of appetite or obesity or other eating disorders


Child lacks adequate

  1. Food, shelter, clothing
  2. Personal hygiene
  3. Medical or dental care
  4. School attendance
  5. Supervision (i.e., young children left at home with either no caretaker or inappropriate caretaker)

Child is exposed to

  1. Drug/alcohol abuse
  2. Domestic violence
  3. A known sexual predator