The first step in helping abused or neglected children is learning to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect. The presence of a single sign does not prove child abuse is occurring; however, when these signs appear with significant injury, or they occur repeatedly or in combination, the professional must take a closer look at the situation and consider the possibility of child abuse. Special attention should be paid to injuries that are unexplained or are inconsistent with the parent or caretaker's explanation and/or the child's developmental age.
The following are some signs often associated with particular types of child abuse/maltreatment: physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. It is important to note, however, these types of abuse are more typically found in combination than alone. A physically abused child, for example, is often emotionally abused as well, and a sexually abused child also may be neglected.
The list that follows contains some common
indicators of abuse or maltreatment. This list is not all-inclusive,
and some abused or maltreated children may not show any of
these signs and symptoms.
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