About Child Abuse

What is a Children's Advocacy Center?

Indicators of Abuse

Physical Abuse Red Flags
Unexplained bruises...

...appearing on the soft tissue of the face (black eyes), on the genitals, back, buttocks, or upper
       thigh reflecting the shape of a belt buckle, extension cord, handprints, etc.
Child is furtive or embarrassed when bruises are discussed.
Child has many "accidents" at home and seems secretive about what happened.
Child complains of beatings.

Unexplained lacerations...

...to the face, mouth, eyes, gums, etc.
...to the external genitals.
...to the legs, arms, torso that mimic the imprint of a belt, extension cord, coat hanger.

Unexplained burns

Cigarette burns on the body.
Scald burns that look like immersion burns.
Rope burns or abrasions.

Indicators in Child's Behavior

Fear of parents or caretaker.
Reluctant to go home.
Difficulty in walking, limping, sore joints.
Listless, detached, withdrawn, preoccupied, extremely aggressive.
School performance deteriorates; achievement does not reflect ability.
Wears inappropriate clothing, i.e., long sleeves and does not want to dress out for physical education class.

Parental Behaviors

Shows little feeling or compassion for the child.
Belittles the child.
Has unrealistic or bizarre expectations.
Expects the child to conform to rigid standards of behavior.
Gives vague or inconsistent explanations of accidents or injuries.

Physical Neglect Red Flags
Physical Indicators

Underweight, often hungry, pale.
Eyes are listless, sunken, dark circles.
Poor hygiene, dirty bodies, dirty or ill-fitting clothing, offensive body odor.
Unattended medical needs.

Indicators in Child's Behavior

Begs, steals or hides food.
Reports that he is left at home alone for extended periods.
Fatigued and preoccupied.
Seeks affection or attention inappropriately.

Parental Behavior

Leaves child unattended for long periods of time.
Seems unconcerned for the child's physical needs.
Chronically does not provide food or money to purchase food at school.
Refuses to obtain needed medical and/or dental treatment for the child.

Sexual Abuse Red Flags
Physical Indicators

Difficulty in walking or sitting.
Lack of bowel control.
Bloody discharge in pre-menstrual girls or anal bleeding in boys.
Venereal disease.
Complains of pain, itching or swelling in the genital area.

Indicators in Child's Behavior

Child discloses he/she has been sexually abused.
Bizarre or unusual sexual behaviors.
Knowledge of sexual behaviors inappropriate for child's age.
Excessive masturbation.
Lack of self-esteem, depression.
Child talks of "secrets" that cannot be told.

Parental Behaviors

Perceives the child as "different" or "bad".
Belittles or humiliates the child.
Insists that the child be treated differently.
Expresses or shows no affection toward the child.