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What are the Symptoms of Child Abuse?

A child will usually exhibit symptoms of child abuse if he is experiencing emotional, verbal, or physical mistreatment. Neglect is also a form of abuse. By observing a child’s behavior, as well as the interaction between the child and guardian, it can be possible to discern whether or not abuse may be occurring. A child in such a situation may exhibit sudden behavior changes, an unwillingness to go home, extreme anxiety, and panic attacks.

Symptoms of child abuse may occur suddenly and the child’s behavior may alter significantly in a short amount of time. For instance, the victim may have been very vibrant in his classroom and an excellent student. If there appears to be a shift in the child’s behavior, and his interest in school activities, this may be a symptom of child abuse and warrant further investigation into the child’s situation. Making note of a child’s behavior with other children, adults, and when it is time to go home can also help determine if there are symptoms of child abuse.

A child who seems to be injured often, with frequent broken bones or bruises, may be enduring some form of mistreatment. Physical abuse is perhaps the easiest to detect because a child in this situation will typically have injuries that are not normally acquired through routine accidents or play. Belt marks and hand prints, for instance, can be tell-tale child abuse symptoms.

Some children may not want to go home or may display fear and anxiety at the idea of leaving the school grounds. This can be a symptom of child abuse. If the child is being abused then he may also be very fearful of other adults and bigger children. An abused child can be very shy and appear to be withdrawn. Alternatively, a child may react to abuse by acting out and being abusive to classmates and authority figures, like teachers.

Neglect can be easy to detect. For example, a child who goes to school in clothing that is too small and too worn may be experiencing a lack of care. A child may be neglected if he does not have a parental figure or guardian at home when he is clearly too young to be taking care of himself on his own. If a child appears to be malnourished, steals other children's food, and cannot get enough to eat then this may also indicate neglect by adults in his life.

Parents, or adult abusers, often also display various symptoms of child abuse. To make an accurate diagnosis of the situation, it is very important to study both the parents and child, especially when cases are not clear. If a parent or guardian calls the child hurtful names, belittles him, or seems angry to be around him, then this may indicate that there is a problem.

If it appears that a child is showing symptoms of child abuse, the local child protective authorities should be notified. In the United States, Child Protective Services (CPS) can be found in many states, although some refer to CPS by other names, like Family and Child Services. The basic mission of CPS, and similar organizations, is to preserve the welfare of children and intervene in cases of abuse and neglect.

Discuss this Article

thelma099
Post 2

Well if you guys can think about anything that may help, i posted an anonymous post about the girl who i know. she is not related to me but her older sister is the god daughter of my mother.

anon145542
Post 1

If you guys could please help me out. There is one thing that i definitely need help with is that a girl i know is probably getting sexually abused by her step father.

The most horrible thing is that he has got two daughters of his own, plus Jessica, the one that I'm talking about, has an older sister and I'm just so scared that he is probably hurting them both. We know that he would never hurt his daughters but these are his stepdaughters so it doesn't surprise me.

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