Child abuse is wrong, whether it is physical, emotional, sexual or neglect. In many cases, the abuser is someone the child knows and trusts.

Therefore, discovering a child you love has been abused can be difficult. They are often ashamed about what happened or fearful of consequences from someone they care for, and they may be reluctant to offer information on their own.

Know the warning signs

Luckily, adults in a child’s life can look for some common warning signs. Some of the typical red flags children exhibit, regardless of what type of abuse they’re suffering, are:

  • Withdrawal from friends of usual activities
  • Negative changes in behavior or school performance
  • Anxiety, unusual fears or a sudden loss of self-confidence
  • Apparent lack of supervision
  • Reluctance to leave activities or to go home
  • Frequent school absences
  • Running away
  • Defiant behavior
  • Self-harm

Other warning signs vary on the type of abuse. Physical abuse signs are a little more obvious, such as unexplained injuries or injuries that don’t add up to the explanation a child gives.

Signs of emotional abuse

A child may be experiencing emotional abuse if they are exhibiting these warning signs:

  • Delayed or inappropriate emotional development
  • Social withdrawal
  • A loss of interest or enthusiasm
  • Avoidance of certain situations
  • Desperately seeking affection
  • A loss of previously acquired developmental skills

Signs of sexual abuse

Common signs a child has been sexually abused are:

  • Sexual knowledge that is above a child’s maturity
  • Blood in the child’s underwear
  • Inappropriate sexual contact with other children

Signs of neglect

If a child is being neglected at home, they may exhibit these warning signs:

  • Poor growth
  • Poor hygiene
  • Weight gain
  • A lack of clothing or supplies to meet physical needs
  • Taking food or money without permission
  • Hiding or saving food
  • Inappropriate attention for medical, dental or psychological problems
  • A lack of necessary follow-up care to any problems

Free from abuse

No matter what type of abuse they’re suffering from, children have the right to live a healthy and stable life. If you are an adult who is worried a child in your life is being abused, know that they have rights and you can pursue a case in for them.