Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect

  1. Physical Abuse
  2. Physical Neglect
  3. Sexual Abuse
  4. Emotional Abuse


  • Unexplained injuries
  • Feels deserving of punishment
  • Frightened of parent or caretaker
  • May not cry or react when frightened
  • Manipulates adults
  • Reports injury by parent or caretaker
  • Injures animals
  • Wary of contact with adults
  • Apprehensive when other children cry
  • Inappropriate maturity
  • Extremes in behavior, aggressive or withdrawn
  • States he or she is afraid to go home
  • Poor self-concept
  • Aggressive play


  • Evidence of failure to thrive
  • Underweight, poor growth
  • Lack of proper immunizations
  • Delay in seeking medical care
  • Lack of supervision
  • Falls asleep during the day
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Evidence of poor hygiene
  • Inappropriate clothing for the weather
  • Regularly complains of being hungry
  • Child is abandoned by parent or caretaker
  • Regularly arrives early or stays late
  • Untreated or gross dental problems
  • Chronic ailments


  • Masturbates during stressful times
  • Inappropriate touching of adults
  • Inappropriate knowledge of sexual matters
  • Unusual fear of adults
  • Inappropriate sexual play with other children
  • Touches genital area on regular basis
  • Reports sexual contact with adult
  • Unusual friendliness with unknown adults
  • Runs away from home
  • States he or she is afraid to go home
  • Urinary infections
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Fear of dark, restrooms
  • Wetting accidents


  • Low self-esteem
  • Self-critical
  • Critical of other children
  • Over-compliant
  • Withdrawn
  • Reports nightmares
  • Fearful of parents of caretakers
  • Displays symptoms of other abuse or neglect

Source: Prevent Child Abuse Missouri

Published in The Springfield News-Leader, Springfield, MO - February 11, 2007

Unknown Author

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