Complete Your CE Test Online - Click Here RECOGNIZING SIGNS OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT 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 mean that child maltreatment is occurring in a family, but a closer look at the situation may be warranted when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination. The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect. 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 ● ● Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn.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. ● ● Is reluctant to be around a particular person. ● ● Discloses maltreatment. The Parent: ● ● 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 the parent’s emotional needs. ● ● Shows little concern for the child. The Parent and Child: ● ● Rarely touch or look at each other. ● ● Consider their relationship entirely negative. ● ● State that they do not like each other. The above list may not be all the signs of abuse or neglect. It is important to pay attention to other behaviors that may seem unusual or concerning. In addition to these signs and symptoms, the Child Welfare Information Gateway provides information on the risk factors and perpetrators of child abuse and neglect fatalities: https://www. childwelfare.gov/can/risk_perpetrators.cfm. We defined the nine different types of child abuse in Pennsylvania earlier in this course. We will now list the types of abuse within the signs of abuse and neglect in this section. Signs of physical abuse Consider the possibility of physical abuse when the child: ● ● Has unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones, or black eyes. ● ● Has fading bruises or other marks noticeable after an absence from school. ● ● Seems frightened of the parent(s) and protests or cries when it is time to go home. ● ● Shrinks at the approach of adults. ● ● Reports injury by a parent or another adult caregiver. ● ● Abuses animals or pets. Types of child abuse: ● ● Causing bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act. ● ● Causing or substantially contributing to serious mental injury to a child through any act or failure to act or a series of such acts or failures to act. ● ● Creating a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act. ● ● Engaging in any of the following recent acts: ○ ○ Kicking, biting, throwing, burning, stabbing or cutting a child in a manner that endangers the child. ○ ○ Unreasonably restraining or confining a child, based on consideration of the method, location or the duration of the restraint or confinement. Consider the possibility of physical abuse when the parent or other adult caregiver: ● ● Offers conflicting, unconvincing, or no explanation for the child’s injury, or provides an explanation that is not consistent with the injury. ● ● Describes the child as “evil” or in some other very negative way. ● ● Uses harsh physical discipline with the child. ● ● Has a history of abuse as a child. ● ● Has a history of abusing animals or pets. Signs of neglect Consider the possibility of neglect when the child: ● ● Is frequently absent from school. ● ● Begs or steals food or money. ● ● Lacks needed medical or dental care, immunizations, or glasses. ● ● Is consistently dirty and has severe body odor. ● ● Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather. ● ● Abuses alcohol or other drugs. ● ● States that there is no one at home to provide care. Types of child abuse: ● ● Causing or substantially contributing to serious mental injury to a child through any act or failure to act or a series of such acts or failures to act. ● ● Causing serious physical neglect of a child. Consider the possibility of neglect when the parent or other adult caregiver: ● ● Appears to be indifferent to the child. ● ● Seems apathetic or depressed. ● ● Behaves irrationally or in a bizarre manner. ● ● Is abusing alcohol or other drugs. Signs of sexual abuse Consider the possibility of sexual abuse when the child: ● ● Has difficulty walking or sitting. ● ● Suddenly refuses to change for gym or to participate in physical activities. ● ● Reports nightmares or bedwetting. ● ● Experiences a sudden change in appetite. ● ● Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior. Page 12 nursing.elitecme.com