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Signs of Child Abuse and What to Do When You Spot Them

Children are vulnerable and need our protection. That’s why it’s such a shock that anyone could intentionally hurt a child. However sad as it may be, it does happen. The best thing we can do is look for the signs of child abuse so that we can stop it before it gets even worse. Here are some of the most common symptoms of child abuse.

Regular physical injuries

If you notice that a child often has bruises, welts, scratches, broken limbs, or other physical injuries, it could definitely be a sign of abuse. Keep in mind, however, some children are daredevils and get hurt through sports or other physical activity. If the child is less active and doesn’t want to talk about where the injuries came from, that’s another sign that the injuries come from abuse.

Seem afraid to go home

Children who are abused may not want to go home. They might find excuses to avoid going back, run away, or seem afraid. Simply ask the child if there’s a reason that they don’t want to go home. Most abused kids won’t speak up, but it will give them the opportunity to reach out to you. Don’t assume there’s a problem if they’re only afraid one day. Look for patterns.

Advanced Sexual knowledge

Signs of abuse don’t only refer to physical violence. Sometimes, it can refer to sexual abuse. Children who are hyper-sexual or seem to know more than they should about sex may have received the knowledge through abuse. On the other end of the spectrum, some kids may be extremely adverse to changing or removing clothing such as sweaters or jackets in front of others.


Courtesy of Healthy Children

Children who suffer from abuse may be feeling depressed or guilty about what is happening to them. This can cause them to isolate themselves from other children and adults. They may even act out when people try to talk to them or touch them.


Children need regular care. If a child is constantly dirty or sick, it could be a sign that they are not getting the care that they need. Also look for signs of malnutrition, such as drastic weight loss. These are signs of neglection which is another form of abuse.

Children are small and vulnerable, and they rely on the adults in their life to care for them. When this doesn’t happen, it’s up to the rest of us to spot the signs and reach out for help immediately. If you spot signs of abuse, call the authorities immediately. For ideas on how to teach your own children how to be observant and protective of others, check out our other articles.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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