Signs of Physical Abuse
- Bruising, welts or burns that cannot be sufficiently explained; particularly bruises on the face, lips, and mouth of infants or on several surface planes at the same time;
- Withdrawn, fearful or extreme behavior;
- Clusters of bruises, welts or burns, indicating repeated contact with a hand or instrument;
- Burns that are insufficiently explained; for example, cigarette burns; and
- Injuries on children where children don't usually get injured (e.g., the torso, back neck buttocks, or thighs).
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Difficulty walking or sitting;
- Pain or itching in the genital area;
- Torn, stained or bloody underclothing;
- Frequent complaints of stomachaches or headaches;
- Venereal disease;
- Bruises or bleeding in external genitalia;
- Feeling threatened by physical contact;
- Inappropriate sex play or premature understanding of sex; and
- Frequent urinary or yeast infections.
Signs of Emotional Injury
- Speech disorders;
- Inability to play as most children do;
- Sleeping problems;
- Anti-social behavior or behavioral extremes; and
- Delays in emotional and intellectual growth.
Signs of Neglect
- Lack of medical or dental care;
- Chronically dirty or unbathed;
- Lack of adequate school attendance;
- Lack of supervision; for example young children left unattended or with other children too young to protect or care for them;
- Lack of proper nutrition;
- Lack of adequate shelter;
- Self-destructive feelings or behavior; and
- Alcohol or drug abuse.
Each case of child abuse or neglect is individual. The child who has been hurt is always the victim. If you believe a child may be the victim of abuse or neglect, contact the Child-at-Risk Hotline at 1-800-792-5200.
This information is provided by the Department of Children and Families.