Recognizing Child Abuse
The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect.
- Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
- Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention
- Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
- Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
- Lacks adult supervision
- Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
- Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home.
- Shows little concern for the child
- Denies the existence of – or blames the child for – the child’s problems in school or at home
- Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves.
- Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
- Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
- Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs
The Parent and Child:
- Rarely touch or look at each other
- Consider their relationship entirely negative
- State that they do not like each other
Child Welfare Information Gateway.
Available online at www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/signs.cfm.