Child Abuse and/or Neglect Warning Signs

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

Signs Of Possible Physical Abuse

  • Unexplained bruises in various states of healing. Severe bruising or multiple bruises. Injuries located on the face or around the body organs.
  • Welts, human bite marks and bald spots.
  • Unexplained burns, especially cigarette burns. Glove or stocking-like burns.
  • Unexplained fractures, 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. Not intervening to protect the child under these conditions.

Signs Of Possible Sexual Abuse

  • Pain, itching, bruising or bleeding in the genitalia area.
  • A sexually transmitted disease.
  • Frequent urinary tract or yeast infections.
  • Engaging in sexual activity inappropriate for the child’s age.
  • Statements about sexual activity made by the child.
  • Pornography, whether in pictures, magazines or on the computer. Pornography that involves the child or showing these items to the child.
  • Engaging in sexual activity if under 16 (age of consent). Engaged in sexual activity if the accused party is at least 12 years old. Also, if the accused is more than four years older than the victim.
  • Involving a child in prostitution.

Signs Of Possible Neglect

  • Abandonment by parent or caregiver.
  • Unattended medical needs.
  • Consistent lack of supervision. Take into consideration the age and maturity level of the child.
  • Consistent hunger, inappropriate dress or  poor hygiene.
  • Begs or steals food. Is pale, listless or 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 impacting the safety of the child.
  • Home is in a condition that could create a risk to a child. Examples include:
    • windows broke
    • glass on the floor
    • animal feces in the home
    • molded food within reach of younger children