St. Augustine Youth Services

Child Abuse…



There are a number of signals that children display that may indicate the presence of abuse or neglect. The presence of a single sign does not prove that abuse is occurring; however, when a sign appears repeatedly, or in combination with other signals, a close look at the situation is called for and the possibility of abuse and/or neglect should be considered.


  • The child Has unexplained burns, cuts, bruises, bite marks or broken bones
  • Exhibits antisocial behavior
  • Has fading bruises or other marks, especially after absence from school
  • Seems frightened of parents and protests when it is time to go home
  • Shrinks at the approach of adults
  • Reports injury by parent or other caregiver


  • The child has difficulty walking or sitting
  • Suddenly refuses to change for gym class or to participate in physical activities
  • Experiences sudden change in appetite
  • Experiences nightmares and/or bedwetting
  • Exhibits over-compliance/subservience, or severe aggression
  • Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, unusual sexual knowledge or behavior
  • Becomes pregnant or contracts an STD
  • Reports sexual abuse by parent or other caregiver
  • Expresses fear of a particular family member


  • The child  is frequently absent from school
  • Begs or steals money or food
  • Lacks medical or dental care
  • Is consistently dirty and has severe body odor
  • Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather
  • States there is no one home to provide care.

Many people incorrectly believe that:

  • By law, abused children must be removed from their homes immediately. This is actually the least likely outcome.
  • Child abuse cannot be reported anonymously. In Florida, as in most states, you don’t have to provide your name.
  • The person reported for abuse is entitled to know who made the report. He/she is not.

To make a report of witnessed or suspected child abuse in Florida, call 1-(800)-96-ABUSE (1-800-962- 2873). Calls to the Abuse Hotline are toll-free, and may be made anonymously.

Some startling facts:

  • About 30% of abused children grow up to abuse their own children.
  • Children who experience child abuse are 59% more likely to be arrested as juveniles, 28% more likely to be arrested as adults, and 30% more likely to commit violent crimes.
  • Children who have been sexually abused are four times more likely to become drug abusers, and three times more likely to abuse alcohol.
  • 80% of young adults who have experienced abuse as children meet the diagnostic criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder by the age of 21.
  • 14% of men and 36% of women in prison report having been abused as children.
  • Up to 80% of child fatalities caused by maltreatment are incorrectly recorded on death certificates.
  • One in seven girls and one in eight boys experience some form of sexual molestation before they reach the age of 18.

(Statistics courtesy of


For more information about SAYS’ Programs, staff, fundraising efforts, and employment opportunities, please visit


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