How to Spot Abuse

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Recognize the warning signs

              The behavior of children may signal abuse or neglect long before

any change in physical appearance.

Abused children may seem:

  • Nervous around adults or afraid of certain adults
  • Reluctant to go home (coming to school early or staying late)
  • Very passive and withdrawn or aggressive and disruptive
  • Tired a lot or they may complain of nightmares or not sleeping well
  • Fearful and anxious


Remember the risk factors. Child abuse and neglect occur in all segments

of our society, but the risk is greater in isolated families

and those where parents have problems

with drugs or alcohol.

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 Information from Child Help USA

Long-term consequences of child abuse and neglect

             An estimated 906,000 children were victims of child abuse                          or neglect in 2005                      

(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006)

While physical injuries may or may not be immediately visible, abuse and neglect can have consequences for children, families, and society that last lifetimes, if not generations.

The following fact sheet supplied by The Child Welfare Information Gateway provides an overview of some of the most common physical, psychological, behavioral, and societal consequences of child abuse and neglect, while acknowledging that much crossover among categories exists. Click here  for the fact sheet.

 Affects of Abuse on the Brain
Trauma is a major reason why abused children are more likely to become depressed, suicidal, aggressive, anxious, hyperactive, and impulsive. The traumatized brain can become chemically “sensitized” to danger making the abused child more reactive  and hyper vigilant, constantly on alert for danger in the environment.

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Did you know?

More than 50% of children under age five,

who are victims of homicide, are killed by a parent.

Children most likely to be abused are handicapped or retarded, small preemies, children with a "will of their own"  (inquisitive, demanding) and unwanted children. 

Bureau of Justice

One of every seven victims of sexual assault reported to law enforcement agencies 

were under the age of six.  Child Help USA

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