Some signs that a child is experiencing abuse are more obvious than others. Trust your instincts. Suspected abuse is enough of a reason to contact the authorities. You do not need proof and there is no penalty for falsely identifying abuse.




Below are indicators of child abuse that can include but are not limited to these signs.


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Withdrawn, fearful or extreme behavior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

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

Frequent urinary or yeast infections

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

Signs of Emotional Injury

Speech disorders

Inability to play as most children do

Sleeping problems

Anti-social behavior or behavioral extremes

Delays in emotional and intellectual growth