How to Recognize Child Abuse, So You Can Stop It

Nearly 700,000 children are abused in the U.S annually.

An estimated 683,000 children (unique incidents) were victims of abuse and neglect in 2015, the most recent year for which there is national data.

Claudia Herrera, LMFT, CFLE is a licensed mental health therapist and supervisor of the West Palm Beach based  Center For Family Services of Palm Beach County’s (http://www.ctrfam.org/ ) SAFE Kids Program and individual and family counseling programs. She says child abuse rarely occurs only one time so it is important to look for signs to on a child to help stop the tide of abuse.

There are variety of signs of abuse you can look for including:

  1. Any injury to a child who is not crawling yet
  2. Injuries at different stages of healing and on a variety of spots on the body
  3. If a child explains an injury in a way that does not make sense
  4. If a child begins habits like sucking, biting, rocking
  5. Learning disabilities and developmental delays
  6. Child becomes overly compliant or defensive and portrays extreme emotions, aggression, withdrawal or suddenly develops anxieties, phobias, or sleep disorders

What should you do if you see these and/or are able to confirm a child is being abused? 

Call the ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline:  1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) and speak to a teacher or principal, a go-between party that deals with children on a regular basis and follow up with that person to see what action has been taken.

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