Brief Definitions and Possible Signs of Child Abuse
Neglect - Child neglect is defined as omission of the child’s basic needs – physical, environmental, emotional, and nutritional – that are necessary for a child’s physical and emotional well-being.
Possible Signs of Neglect:
- Failure to thrive
- Inappropriate dress for climate
- Stealing of food
- Untreated medical conditions
- Poor hygiene
Emotional Abuse – Emotional abuse is abuse in which a person exposes a child to spoken and/or unspoken violence or emotional cruelty. Emotional abuse sends a message to the child of worthlessness, inadequacy, and being not only unloved but undeserving of love and care.
Possible Signs of Emotional Abuse:
- Withdrawal behavior
- Failure to thrive
- Threats of or attempts of suicide
- Extreme attempts to seek adult behavior
- Extreme passive/aggressive behavior patterns
Physical Abuse - Physical abuse is abuse in which a person deliberately and intentionally causes bodily harm to a child. Examples may include violent battery with a weapon (knife, belt, strap, or other), burning, shaking, kicking, choking, and any of a wide variety of non-accidental injuries to a child’s body.
Possible Signs of Physical Abuse:
- Hostile and aggressive behavior toward others
- Fearfulness of parents and/or other adults
- Destructive behavior toward self, others, and property
- Inexplicable physical injuries, repetitious injuries
Sexual Abuse – Sexual abuse is abuse involving sexual contact between a child and an adult, or between a young child and a significantly older child. Also included is verbal abuse of a sexual nature and exposing the child to pornography.
Possible Signs of Sexual Abuse:
- Unusually advanced sexual knowledge and/or behavior for child’s age and development
- Sexually reactive behavior
- Clingy behaviors -won’t separate from one adult to another
- Run away from home behavior
- Physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, fatigue
- Sexually transmitted diseases