You can help prevent child abuse


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:


The Child:

  • 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  • Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn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


The Parent:

  • 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



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