The Joyful Heart Foundation lists the following signs of child abuse. It is vital that we are aware of all of them so as to keep a watchful eye on our children.
Children who have experienced child abuse may demonstrate any of the following signs.
- Failure to thrive socially or academically
- Speech disorders
- Delayed physical development
- Attachment issues, such as discomfort with physical contact or difficulty connecting with others
- Lags in physical, emotional or intellectual development
- Learning disorders
- Behavior extremes, such as appearing overly compliant and passive or very demanding and aggressive.
- Withdrawn and/or overly sensitive behaviors
- Increased fear or avoidance of a specific person and/or situation
- Difficulty expressing thoughts and feelings
- Substance use
- Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
- Anxiety and/or excessive worrying
- Bruises, welts or swelling
- Sprains or fractures
- Lacerations or abrasions
- Frequent physical complaints, such as stomachaches and headaches
- Difficulty in walking or sitting
- Torn, stained or bloody clothing
- Pain or itching in the genital area; bruises or bleeding in the external genital area
- Sexually transmitted infections or diseases
- Knowledge of or interest in sexual behaviors that are not age appropriate
- Low self-esteem
- Uncharacteristic obedience or perfectionism
- Strong feelings of shame or guilt
- Programmed statements or behaviors
Child abuse is more prevalent than most people think.
90% of child sexual abuse victims know their abusers.
Of children who are sexually abused 20% are abused before the age of eight.
Only 4-8% of child sexual abuse is fabricated.
Use of alcohol or drugs at an early age can be a sign of child sexual abuse.
Child sexual abuse is the number one hardest crime to prosecute.
American Society for the Positive Care of Children states:
- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old.37 3
- Over 58,000 children were sexually abused last year. 12
- 3 % of reported child abuse cases were sexual abuse. 1
- 34% of people who sexually abuse a child are family members. 4
- 3% of girls were age 10 or younger at the time of their first rape/victimization, and 30% of girls were between the ages of 11 and 17. 2
- 8% of boys were age 10 or younger at the time of their first rape/victimization. 2
- 96% of people who sexually abuse children are male, and 76.8% of people who sexually abuse children are adults. 4
- 325,000 children are at risk of becoming victims of commercial child sexual exploitation each year. 5
- Caregiver alcohol or drug abuse is a child abuse risk factor putting kids at much higher risk for being abused. 1
- The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12 to 14 years old, and the average age for boys is 11 to 13 years old. 5