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Would You Recognize Child Abuse or Neglect?

July 11, 2016 at midnight

Children who are forced to endure abuse or neglect can suffer debilitating effects for a lifetime. The sooner they are removed from a damaging environment, the quicker and more completely they can begin to heal. This also helps reduce the likelihood of their perpetuating the cycle with their own children one day.

First of all, it's essential to understand that there are many different types of abuse and neglect, including physical, emotional, educational, medical and sexual. Recognizing the indicators of the various types of child abuse and neglect is the first step toward changing the lives of children who are trapped in harmful surroundings.

Signs of Physical Abuse or Neglect

The primary signs of physical abuse include unexplained bruises, welts or scratches, particularly those that resemble hand marks or the shape of an object, such as a belt or a cigarette, which might be used to hurt the child. Children who are physically neglected may show signs of poor hygiene, improper clothing, and persistent hunger.

Signs of Emotional Abuse or Neglect

Although it may coincide with physical abuse, emotional abuse or neglect does not present physical symptoms. Instead, watch a child’s behavior and emotions for cues. Children may seem overly attached to or affectionate with people they hardly know. Alternatively, they may be exceedingly wary and fearful of strangers. They might undergo emotional outbursts and use inappropriate language. In addition, emotionally abused children often lack social skills because they lack a close bond with their parents.

Signs of Sexual Abuse

No one wants to consider this atrocity, but it is crucial that children who are sexually abused receive help. These victims may be remarkably fearful of specific people, places or activities. They may suffer insomnia, have recurring bad dreams, or night terrors. A sexually abused child may seem overly shameful. On the other hand, they may be remarkably promiscuous or victimize other children.

Signs of Educational Neglect

A parent who fails to ensure that a child’s educational requirements are met is neglecting such a child. This usually occurs when parents allow, or cause excessive truancy, but it can also refer to homeschooled students whose parents do not actively provide adequate education or resources. In addition, parents who never enroll a child in school or remove a child from a school under the pretense of moving or transferring to another location and then fail to re-enroll the child are guilty of educational neglect.

Signs of Medical Neglect

Children who are deprived of medical attention or treatment they require are medically neglected. These children may openly suffer from untreated injuries or illnesses or complain of ailments for which they have obviously not received proper care. They can experience delayed development as a result. Also, they may have small statures, be malnourished, undernourished or exhibit the inability to thrive like normal children.

What to Do If You Suspect Abuse or Neglect of a Child

If you believe a child you know is suffering any form of abuse or neglect, taking action is absolutely vital. You can contact your local Child Protection Services or law enforcement office to report such suspected abuse or neglect. Some areas have child abuse hotlines that you can contact around the clock.

Following your report, the authorities will perform a thorough investigation to ensure the child in question is safe and, if not, will remove the child from the harmful environment. Every attempt will be made to offer such a child safe and loving surroundings as well as the medical and professional care that may be needed.


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