Recognizing Child Abuse
The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect, however, there may be no physical signs of abuse. No physical signs of abuse is not indicative that no abuse has occurred.
- Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
- Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention
- Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
- Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
- Lacks adult supervision
- Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
- Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home.
- Shows little concern for the child
- Denies the existence of – or blames the child for – the child’s problems in school or at home
- Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves.
- Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
- Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
- Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs
The Parent and Child:
- Rarely touch or look at each other
- Consider their relationship entirely negative
- State that they do not like each other
Child Welfare Information Gateway is available online at www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/signs.cfm.