Signs of Child Abuse

It is important to note that the following signs do not explicitly mean that abuse is happening. For example, there are many reasons that a child might not come to school on a particular day, or a child may be overly compliant when trying to please a favorite teacher. However, when you have a cluster of two or more of these signs, this may be cause for concern.

Signs of Child Abuse:
  • Child shows sudden change in behavior or school performance
  • Is overly compliant, too responsible
  • Has unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones, or black eyes
  • Has bruises or marks in non-prominent, “fleshy” areas of the body (cheeks, behind the knees, etc.)
  • Begs for or steals food/money from classmates
  • Lacks needed medical or dental care
Symptoms that children can incur as a result of abuse:
  • “Hurting stomach”/ nausea
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Withdrawal from others
  • Clinging to caregivers
  • Sexually inappropriate behavior
  • Lying
  • Change in appetite
  • Nightmares
  • Mood changes
  • Avoiding school/friends/family
  • Fears/Phobias
  • Attention-seeking behaviors
Children react differently depending on age, extent of the abuse, support from others, and their relationship with the offender. The single most important factor that impacts a child’s recovery is the level of support they receive from caregivers.