Recognizing Child Abuse

 

The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect.

The Child:

  • 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  • Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn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.

The Parent:

  • 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.
Available online at www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/signs.cfm.