November 11, 2019

Learn the warning signs that a child is being abused

Author: PHS Ministries
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The Mayo Clinic defines child abuse as:

  • Physical abuse. Physical child abuse occurs when a child is purposely physically injured or put at risk of harm by another person.
  • Sexual abuse. Sexual child abuse is any sexual activity with a child, such as fondling, oral-genital contact, intercourse, exploitation or exposure to child pornography.
  • Emotional abuse. Emotional child abuse means injuring a child's self-esteem or emotional well-being. It includes verbal and emotional assault — such as continually belittling or berating a child — as well as isolating, ignoring or rejecting a child.
  • Medical abuse. Medical child abuse occurs when someone gives false information about illness in a child that requires medical attention, putting the child at risk of injury and unnecessary medical care.
  • Neglect. Child neglect is failure to provide adequate food, shelter, affection, supervision, education, or dental or medical care.

The Mayo Clinic continues:

A child who's being abused may feel guilty, ashamed or confused. He or she may be afraid to tell anyone about the abuse, especially if the abuser is a parent, other relative or family friend. That's why it's vital to watch for red flags, such as:

  • Withdrawal from friends or usual activities.
  • Changes in behavior—such as aggression, anger, hostility or hyperactivity—or changes in school performance.
  • Depression, anxiety or unusual fears, or a sudden loss of self-confidence.
  • An apparent lack of supervision.
  • Frequent absences from school.
  • Reluctance to leave school activities, as if he or she doesn't want to go home.
  • Attempts at running away.
  • Rebellious or defiant behavior.
  • Self-harm or attempts at suicide.

Specific signs and symptoms depend on the type of abuse and can vary. Keep in mind that warning signs are just that—warning signs. The presence of warning signs doesn't necessarily mean that a child is being abused.

The Mayo Clinic advises:

If you are concerned that a child is being abused, or if you worry that you might abuse your child, seek help immediately. These organizations can provide information and referrals:

  • Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
  • Prevent Child Abuse America: 1-800-CHILDREN (1-800-244-5373)

Read More

Mayo Clinic—Child Abuse

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