Warning Signs

​Warning Signs of Abuse and Neglect of Children

This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather merely serves as a guide to recognize signs.

Signs of Possible Physical Abuse

  • Unexplained bruises in various states of healing (severe bruising, multiple bruises, or injuries located on face or around body organs
  • Welts, human bite marks, bald spots
  • Unexplained burns, especially cigarette burns or glove or stocking-like burns
  • Unexplained factures, injuries or abrasions
  • Cruel or grossly inappropriate discipline
  • Forcing the child to engage in criminal activity
  • Allowing any of the above situations to occur with a child, without intervening to protect the child 

Signs of Possible Sexual Abuse 

  • Has pain, itching, bruising, or bleeding in the genitalia area
  • Has a sexually transmitted disease
  • Frequent urinary tract or yeast infections.
  • Engages in sexual activity that is not appropriate for the child’s age
  • Statements by the child regarding sexual activity
  • Pornography (pictures, magazines, computer) that involve the child, showing items to the child and etc.)
  • Engaging in sexual activity if under 16 (age of consent) OR if accused party is at least 12 years old and is more than four years older than victim
  • Involving child in prostitution

Signs of Possible Neglect         

  • Abandonment by parent or caregiver
  • Unattended medical needs
  • Consistent lack of supervision. given the age and maturity level of the child 
  • Consistent hunger, inappropriate dress, poor hygiene
  • Pale, listless, begs or steals food, frequently absent from school
  • Behavior tends to be one extreme to the other or a noticeable change occurs in the child’s behavior
  • Inappropriate discipline (less severe than abuse)
  • Substance Abuse or Domestic Violence by caretakers that impacts safety of the child
  • Home is in a condition that could create a risk to a child (windows broken and glass on the floor, animal feces in the home, molded food within reach of younger children and etc.)