WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
WHAT YOUR SHOULD DO
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.
SIGNS OF PHYSICAL ABUSE:
- 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
SIGNS OF SEXUAL ABUSE:
- 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
SIGNS OF NEGLECT:
- 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 http://www.ChildHelp.org)
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