April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
The first step in helping abused or neglected children is learning to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect. The presence of a single sign does not prove child abuse is occurring in a family, but a closer look at the situation may be warranted when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination:
- Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
- Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention
- Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
- Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
- Lacks adult supervision
- Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
- Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
- Reports abusive behavior
- Shows little concern for the child
- Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child’s problems in school or at home
- Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
- Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
- Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
- Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs
The Parent and Child:
- Rarely touch or look at each other
- Consider their relationship entirely negative
- State that they do not like each other
Click here for more resources and detailed information on the signs of physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect – which is the leading cause of children being placed in DFCS custody.
If you do suspect a child is being harmed, reporting your suspicions may protect the child and get help for the family. ANY concerned person can report suspicions of child abuse and neglect. Some people – including doctors, clergy, teachers, police officers and anyone who works or volunteers at a child service organization like UMCH – are called mandatory reporters and are required by law to make a report of child maltreatment.
UMCH provides mandatory reporter training to all our volunteers. Free trainings are available through the state for anyone who is a mandatory reporter (click here).
To report child abuse in Georgia, please contact your county local DFCS office or the local police department. After hours (between 5 p.m. and 8:30 a.m.) call 1-855-GACHILD.
Information courtesy of https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/signs.cfm