Signs of Abuse in Children

Child abuse is the physical injury of a child under circumstances that indicate that a child’s health or welfare is harmed or at substantial risk of being harmed.

Behavioral signs:

  • Displays sexual behavior and/or uses sexual language that is not age appropriate.
  • Behavioral regression
  • Self-injurious behavior
  • Suicidal thought and symptoms of depression
  • Sleep disturbance, nightmares, bedwetting
  • Unexplained changes in child’s behavior: avoiding physical contact, isolating themselves, excessive bathing or refusal to bathe

Physical signs:

  • Painful urination or defecation
  • Pain, bleeding, or discharges in genitals, anus or mouth
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Persistent or recurring pain during urination and bowel movements
  • Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training

If you are concerned about child sexual abuse find out how to make a confidential report here: http://dhr.maryland.gov/child-protective-services/reporting-suspected-child-abuse-or-neglect/.

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