Abuse Information

Signs of Abuse

What are the signs and symptoms
of child abuse?

If you suspect child abuse, but aren’t sure, look for clusters of the following physical
and behavioral signs.

Some signs of physical abuse

  • Unexplained burns, cuts, bruises, or welts in the shape of an object
  • Bite marks
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Problems in school
  • Fear of adults
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Self-destructive or suicidal behavior
  • Depression or poor self-image

Some signs of emotional abuse

  • Apathy
  • Depression
  • Hostility
  • Lack of concentration
  • Eating disorders

Some signs of sexual abuse

  • Inappropriate interest in or knowledge of sexual acts
  • Seductiveness
  • Avoidance of things related to sexuality, or rejection of own genitals or bodies
  • Nightmares and bed wetting
  • Drastic changes in appetite
  • Overcompliance or excessive aggression
  • Fear of a particular person or family member
  • Withdrawal, secretiveness, or depression
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-injury

Sometimes there are no obvious physical signs of sexual abuse, and a physician must examine the child to confirm the abuse.

Some signs of neglect

  • Unsuitable clothing for weather
  • Being dirty or unbathed
  • Extreme hunger
  • Apparent lack of supervision


* Source: Helpguide.org