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:
- Any injury to a child who is not crawling yet
- Injuries at different stages of healing and on a variety of spots on the body
- If a child explains an injury in a way that does not make sense
- If a child begins habits like sucking, biting, rocking
- Learning disabilities and developmental delays
- 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.