The Signs of Physical Child Abuse

Written by shaleah patterson
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The Signs of Physical Child Abuse
Recognising the signs early in physical abuse can prevent further abuse. (Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Many incidents of child abuse go unreported and unnoticed by family, friends and authorities. Searching for simple clues and signs can help prevent future child abuse and detect it early on before the situation gets any worse. Devastating outcomes can occur if child abuse goes unnoticed such as continued abuse, pain and suffering, and sometimes death.

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Signs of Physical Abuse

Physical signs of child abuse aren't always visible and don't always mean broken bones and bruises. If you've noticed a child with frequent injuries and one who is always on alert, they might be exhibiting that behaviour because they are being abused. If you've noticed that the injuries appear to have patterns such as injuries from a belt or a hand, or if the child shies away from touch, they may be a victim of child abuse. If you've noticed odd clothing choices for the child, such as long sleeves or long trousers during summer months, keep an eye out because it might be his way of covering up the bruises.

Signs of Neglect

Neglect is also form of child abuse. Signs of neglect include instances in which a child's hygiene is bad, their clothing is dirty or dingy, the child is frequently late or absent from school or day care, or if the child is left in unsafe environments. If you notice a child with untreated illnesses or injuries, that could be another sign of neglect.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

Although physical abuse is more common, emotional abuse is just as bad as physical abuse and can cause just as much, if not more, damage than physical abuse. When children are abused emotionally, they tend to exhibit behaviours such as lack of attachment to their parent or caregiver, extreme behaviour, excessive withdrawal, fear, anxiousness and unusual behaviour for a child. For instance, if a child is throwing tantrums often, rocking back and forth or sucking her thumb, she might be a victim of emotional abuse.

Signs of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse in children might be one of the worst kinds of physical abuse to a child. Signs of sexual abuse in children include instances where a child runs away from home, if a child has trouble walking or sitting, if a child is persistent about avoiding a certain person, or if a child has knowledge of sexual acts that are inappropriate to her age.

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