Child abuse is defined as doing or failing to do something that results in harm or risk of harm to a child. Any child can become a victim of abuse. No race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic demographic is immune.
A report of abuse is made every 2 minutes.*
*DFPS Data Book, 2016
92% of children know their abuser.*
*U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Child Maltreatment Report 2016
A child has a greater risk of being sexually abused than being in a car accident.
THE FOUR TYPES OF ABUSE
Physical abuse of a child is when a parent or caregiver causes any non-accidental physical injury to a child.
This includes striking, kicking, burning, biting, hair pulling, strangling, throwing, shoving, whipping, or any other action that injures a child. Even if the caregiver didn’t mean to inflict an injury, when the child is injured, it is abuse. While not all physical discipline causes injury, we do not recommend it as a way to correct your child’s behavior.
Signs of Physical Abuse in a Child:
- Unexplained changes in the child’s body, behavior, or regression to earlier developmental stages
- Any injury (bruise, burn, fracture, abdominal, head injury, etc.) that is unexplained, or explained in a way that doesn’t make sense
- Patterned or distinctly shaped bruises or burns
- Bruises on the torso, ears, neck, or on children four months old or younger are frequently indicative of abuse
- Injuries appearing after the child has not been seen for several days
- Several injuries in different stages of healing
- Watchful and “on alert” behavior, as if the child is waiting for something bad to happen
- Shying away from touch, flinching at sudden movements, or seeming afraid to go home or to a certain place
- Appears afraid of adults
- Wears clothing inappropriate to the season or weather to cover injuries (i.e. long-sleeved shirts on hot days)
- Sudden changes in school behavior or attendance
- Nightmares, trouble sleeping, insomnia
- Violent themes in fantasy, art, storytelling, etc.
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches with no medical cause
- Shows aggression towards peers, pets, or other animals
- Reports injury by a parent or another caregiver
Signs of Physical Abuse in Parent or Caregiver:
- Denies the existence of, or blames the child for any of the child’s problems in school or at home
- Can’t or won’t explain injury of a child, or explains it in a way that doesn’t make sense
- Displays aggression to child or is overly anxious about child’s behavior
- Asks other caregivers to use physical discipline if the child is misbehaving
- Indicates child is not trustworthy, a liar, evil, or a troublemaker
- Expresses that the child is worthless or burdensome
- Delays or prevents medical care for the child
- Shows little concern for the child
- Takes the child to different doctors or hospitals
- Keeps the child from school, church, clubs, etc.
- Has history of violent and/or abusive behavior