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What Are the Signs of Child Abuse?

Statutes that address child abuse, neglect, and abandonment apply to dependent children who are under the age of 18.
Child abuse refers to harm that is done to a minor.
An abused child might appear withdrawn.
Children who are abused usually have self-esteem issues.
Unusual emotional patterns in children might be a sign of abuse.
In some cases, child abuse treatments may involve prescription medication.
Article Details
  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 10 December 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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There are several potential signs of child abuse. Some of these may be physically noticeable, while others may not be. These signs often depend on whether the abuse consists of physical, emotional, or sexual mistreatment or neglect. For example, children suffering from physical abuse may have unexplained marks, or those who are neglected may not seem to have their needs met at home. Other signs of abuse include depression and concentration problems.

Physical abuse is one of the most commonly known types of child abuse. This can involve such things as hitting, kicking, shoving, or any other type of action that may result in physical injury of a child. One of the most obvious signs of child abuse of this sort is unexplained physical trauma or marks on a child. This can include bruises, cuts, burns, or broken bones. Children who are being physically abused may also miss school often, and return with fading marks.

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Although it may not be as easy to spot, emotional or mental abuse is another common type of abuse. This can include such things as belittling or outright rejection. When it comes to this type, signs of child abuse may include behavioral extremes. This can include behaviors like being overly aggressive, or in some cases, extremely passive. Children who are being emotionally abused may be aggressive toward their peers in an effort to "balance out" the treatment experienced at home. On the other hand, they may be extremely passive, allowing peers to take advantage of them, since that is what they are used to at home.

Sexual child abuse is often considered to be the most heinous types of child abuse, and it can include fondling of the genitalia, sexual intercourse, or sexual assault. Signs of child abuse of this sort often include sexual knowledge or behavior that is inappropriate for the child's age. There may be physical signs as well. These can include pregnancy at a very young age, venereal disease, or other damage to a child's sexual organs.

Child neglect is another form of abuse. Children who are being neglected will generally show signs that they are not be taken care of properly at home. They may be hungry all the time, for example, and may even beg for or steal food. It is also common for neglected children to be unbathed and lack the appropriate clothing, such as a heavy coat during the winter.

There are also a number of general signs of child abuse. For example, a child may seem overly shy, or withdrawn from others, particularly adults. In the case of child on child abuse, however, they may be more untrusting of other children. Abused children are also more at risk of being depressed, having trouble concentrating, and partaking in antisocial behavior.

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Discuss this Article

Viranty
Post 3

@RoyalSpyder - I've read the book too, and while an interesting and shocking read, some of his claims did seem questionable. Regardless however, I did enjoy this article. Though it was tough to read, child abuse is something we all need to know about. The sad thing is that many people are aware of it, but some choose to ignore it. More than likely, it's because they don't want to get involved.

RoyalSpyder
Post 2

You know, this article reminds me of a book a read a while back, known as A Child Called It. Has anyone heard of it? To make a long story short, it chronicles the horrific childhood of Dave Pelzer, who was physically, mentally and emotionally tortured by his mother. However, I do question some of the claims he made in his book. I'll spare you the graphic details, but how could someone be abused to such an extreme degree, and manage to live?

Krunchyman
Post 1

I'll admit that this article is quite a shock to read. Don't get me wrong, I've certainly heard about child abuse, but I didn't know it was this horrific, especially the sexual kind. However, I'm thankful that this is an issue that's being made much more aware of. Many years ago, it went virtually unnoticed, and even when it was observed, it was all behind closed doors. However, in this day and age, between the police, detectives, and social workers, it's more of a known issue that's being dealt with to the highest degree.

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