Despite what most people think, child abuse and neglect isn’t physical assault. It’s more than bruises and other marks that raise a red flag. It can be physical, sexual, or emotional. Children can also be victims of neglect—caregivers not providing them with basic necessities and safety.
If you suspect someone you know of child abuse or know a child that might be struggling, here are a few signs to look out for:
The most obvious sign of child abuse is unexplained bruises. If a child has a lot of bruises and marks, this is a cause for concern. Getting hurt while playing is different. But if there are marks all over the body, it’s best to ask the child what is going on.
Most children lie about how they got hurt. It’s best to observe them for a few days. Let them know that they are safe and it’ll be all right. You will have to earn their trust but make sure to let them know they have nothing to worry about.
Signs of physical abuse include:
- Injury marks that have a pattern, like from a hand, belt, or other objects
- Injuries that are at different stages of healing
- Burns, especially from cigarettes, that can’t be explained
- Bruises, welts, or other injuries that can’t be explained or don’t match with the child’s story
Medical or dental issues that go untreated
A child that has been abused at home or neglected will show signs through immense anger, or irritation. They will be frustrated with the smallest things and often lash out at others.
They’ll experience mood swings and you’ll notice a shift in personality. A child that once used to be happy and friendly will now have outbursts for no reason.
Another sign to look out for is if the child is overly anxious about something but doesn’t want to share. If this happens frequently, it’s best to get to the bottom of the problem. Some kids will be nervous before or during an exam.
But if it happens every other day, something is wrong and the child might feel scared of sharing what is causing them distress.
Other signs to look out for include:
- Weight gain or loss
- Missing school for a number of days without any explanations
- Eating more than usual at a meal or saving food for later
- Shabby or dirty appearance
- Wear clothing that doesn’t match the weather—such as long sleeves on hot days, to cover up bruises
- Afraid of going home or to school
If you see a child struggling, it’s crucial that you call child services or the police. Gathering evidence might help as some children try to protect their abusers due to having a close relationship with them. Children are confused and don’t understand what is going on.
That’s why it’s important to protect them at all costs.
Geoffrey suffered the pain of abandonment from his family after being delivered into the claws of his prep school headmaster. Life there was extremely tough and one little mistake could lead to a harsh punishment.
The heartbreaking story of Geoffrey Finch is a reminder of what being abandoned and neglected during one’s childhood can do to their mental health. His story portrays the consequences of long-term separation from parents, combined with starvation of affection.
The book is available on Amazon.