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For more information about where and how to file a report, contact your local child protective services agency or police department. An additional resource for information and referral is the Childhelp® National Child Abuse Hotline (800.4.A.CHILD).

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       Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn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

  • Signs of Sexual Abuse

Consider the possibility of sexual abuse when the child:

       Has difficulty walking or sitting

       Suddenly refuses to change for gym or to participate in physical activities

       Reports nightmares or bedwetting

       Experiences a sudden change in appetite

       Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior

       Becomes pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, particularly if under age 14

       Runs away

       Reports sexual abuse by a parent or another adult caregiver

  • Types of Abuse

The following are some signs often associated with particular types of child abuse and neglect: physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. It is important to note, however, that these types of abuse are more typically found in combination than alone. A physically abused child, for example, is often emotionally abused as well, and a sexually abused child also may be neglected.


Resources on the Child Welfare Information Gateway Website

Child Abuse and Neglect


Defining Child Abuse and Neglect


Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect


Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect




Break the Silence… Stop the Cycle……

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