Recognising Signs of Abuse in Children

There are many forms of abuse, including physical, emotional, sexual and neglect. Ways in identifying each of these are:

• Physical

o Injuries that a child cannot or will not explain or are patterned (such as looking like it could be from a belt)
o Always acting anxious or flinching at touch or quick movements
o Moving with discomfort and wearing clothing inappropriate for weather to hide injuries

• Emotional

o Low self-esteem/confidence and being distrustful/fearful
o Affection seeking and social awkwardness
o Acting older or younger than appropriate for child’s age

• Sexual

o Sexual knowledge or actions beyond child’s age
o Trouble walking or sitting down, pain, bruises or bleeding in genital area
o Unwillingness to change clothes in front of others and fear of certain places or people

• Neglect

o Consistent uncleanliness and lack of weather-appropriate clothing
o Being underweight or malnourished and requesting food or other necessities
o Having untreated physical or psychological problems

A sudden change in a child’s behaviour, interests and personality could be a big indicator something is wrong. If you suspect a child is being abused, do not look the other way. Look into it and speak up.