Child Abuse and Neglect - Symptoms
Symptoms of emotional abuse
Emotional abuse means doing or saying things to hurt a child emotionally. For example, the adult may say things to make the child feel unwanted or worthless. A child
who is emotionally abused may:
- Not care much about what is going on
around him or her.
- Not react normally to pain, other people, or changes in his or her
- Avoid a particular parent or caregiver.
- Act more fearful, angry, or sad than would seem normal.
- Not do well in
- Hurt himself or herself on purpose.
- Do things that are harmful, such as use drugs or have an eating disorder.
Symptoms of sexual abuse
A child with
symptoms of recent sexual abuse may:
- Not want to go
to the bathroom.
- Show signs of discomfort or pain while sitting, urinating,
or passing stools.
- Have discharge from the vagina or penis.
through his or her pants.
Certain ways of behaving may also point to
sexual abuse. These include:
Sexual abuse versus normal sexual play
Sexual abuse is very different from
normal sexual play between children who have not reached puberty.
Normal sexual play between children of similar ages is usually touching and looking. No force is used.
Sexual abuse includes any sexual activity that the child is not able to understand or
consent to. Besides obvious sexual acts, examples include fondling and showing pornography to a child.
Symptoms of neglect
Child neglect means not providing a child with his or her basic needs. A child's general appearance, home
environment, and behavior patterns can show
signs of neglect.
A child who is neglected may:
- Be very underweight or
- Be developmentally delayed.
- Be sick or tired
most of the time.
- Be dirty or have poor personal hygiene.
- Not have the right clothes for the weather.