Signs of Violence Against Children

Recognize The Signs Of
Violence and Neglect Against Children

These signs might mean a child is a victim of violence and neglect:

The Child

  • Has had many unusual injuries or injuries that can't be explained
  • Seems sad and cries a lot
  • Fights with classmates, acts out in the classroom, or destroys things; throws toys across a room or is violent toward a pet Seems very tired; talks about trouble sleeping and often has nightmares
  • Seems afraid of a parent or other adults, like teachers or baby-sitters
  • Spends a lot of time at the playground and doesn't want to go home after school, as if afraid of something there

The Child's Parents

  • Stay away from other mothers and fathers in the neighborhood, do not take part in school activities, and may have a drinking or drug abuse problem
  • Don't want to talk about the child's injuries or seem nervous when they do

Parents who were victims of violence and neglect as children,
can often continue the cycle when they punish their own children.

Being poor, sick or on drugs, increases the risk of harming and neglecting a child.

If you suspect that a child you know is being harmed and neglected- perhaps a niece or a nephew, a child in the neighborhood or at school - you need to do something about it.

Use common sense in trying to figure out if a child is being harmed or neglected. For example, normal, active children get some bruises and bumps from everyday playing. These bruises are mostly over bony areas such as knees, elbows, and shins. But -- if you see a child with injuries on other parts of their body, such as their stomach, cheeks, ears, buttocks, mouth, or thighs, you should think twice. Black eyes, human bite marks, and round burns the size of a cigarette, don't come from everyday play!

Signs of Violence and Neglect

Not all child abuse is physical. Emotional abuse is one of the most common and harmful forms of child abuse. Making fun of a child, name calling, always finding fault, and showing no respect can damage a child's self-esteem forever! When emotional abuse occurs often, and over a long period of time, it can have a lifelong impact -- affecting a child's happiness, relationships and success.

The Child

  • May find it hard to make friends
  • Can avoid doing things with other children
  • Can avoid being in places where they’re expected to be loving
  • May tend to be pushy and hostile
  • Might have a hard time learning, be overly active, or have problems such as bed-wetting or soiling
  • Might act falsely grown up, having to care for adults or others far beyond what should be expected for the child's age
  • May become gloomy and depressed, unable to enjoy his or her self.
  • They might do things that work against themselves.
  • Could become self-destructive, self injuring, or even attempting suicide.

As with other types of harm and neglect, parents who were emotionally abused are more likely to emotionally abuse their own kids. To stop the abuse, they need to become aware of how they’re treating their children. Often they don’t know how damaging their behavior is. If they did, and knew how much it hurt their children, they would likely want to stop it. However, they may not be able to stop without help from a professional.

In most child abuse cases, parents don’t want to hurt their children. Most abuse occurs when adults have a hard time controlling their anger. Even if they don't mean to, a parent who abuses a child could do it again, especially if their anger and stresses are not managed. They may need help from an outside group, such as a church, parenting education center, or local Parents Anonymous chapter.

If you have abused your child or feel that you might --- talk with a trusted friend, doctor, or clergyman. Don’t be afraid – you need help, and it’s a great start! They can refer you to someone who can help you.

Many community groups and churches offer parenting classes that can help you learn how to talk to your child and manage your problems.

Facts You Should Know About Violence Against Children

Forms of Violence and Neglect Against Children

What Makes People Harm and Neglect Children

What You Can Do To Help

Reporting It

Resources To Help You

Purchase A Blue Ribbon

It's Time To Break The Cycle of Violence Against Children ... Before It Starts!


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