Violence against children is a national health crisis.
The magnitude of this unspeakable crime is powerfully told through these grim statistics:
1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
Nearly 5 children die every day as a result of child abuse or neglect.
Child abuse is 7.5 times more common than childhood cancer.
Children under 3 years old account for 70% of child abuse fatalities.
A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds.
Child abuse is a preventable crime.
Victims of child abuse and neglect frequently send signals that they need help; we just need to know what to look for. While some professionals – such as teachers, physicians and law enforcement -- are required by State law to report suspected child maltreatment, all of us can and should be able to recognize high-risk situations and the signs and symptoms of maltreatment. Our kids deserve nothing less.
The following behaviors may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect.
Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the caregiver’s attention
Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
Always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
Lacks adult supervision
Overly compliant, passive or withdrawn
Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
Reluctant to be around a particular person
Denies the existence of – or blames the child for – problems in school or home
Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if 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
Adult and Child Interactions:
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, Child Welfare Information Gateway provides information on the risk factors and perpetrators of child abuse and neglect fatalities: https://www.childwelfare.gov
Every Child Deserves a Champion.
If a child shares that he or she is being abused, please keep the following in mind:
Be approachable: ready to talk and listen
Always remain calm: may reaffirm child’s fears if you appear upset or angry
Reassure them that you are glad they told you
Don’t make any promises
Don’t keep it a secret
Seek the appropriate help immediately: Abuse Report Hotlines
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 parents 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
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 inconsistent 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
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
Becomes pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, particularly if under age 14
Reports sexual abuse by a parent or another adult caregiver
Attaches very quickly to strangers or new adults in their environment
Consider the possibility of sexual abuse when the parent or other adult caregiver:
Is unduly protective of the child or severely limits the child’s contact with other children, especially of the opposite sex
Is secretive and isolated
Is jealous or controlling with family members
Signs of Emotional Maltreatment
Consider the possibility of emotional maltreatment when the child:
Shows extremes in behavior, such as overly compliant or demanding behavior, extreme passivity, or aggression
Is either inappropriately adult (parenting other children, for example) or inappropriately infantile (frequently rocking or head-banging, for example)
Is delayed in physical or emotional development
Has attempted suicide
Reports a lack of attachment to the parent
Consider the possibility of emotional maltreatment when the parent or other adult caregiver:
Constantly blames, belittles, or berates the child
Is unconcerned about the child and refuses to consider offers of help for the child’s problems
Overtly rejects the child
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/whatiscan.cfm
The Impact of Childhood Trauma on Well-Being
Child abuse and neglect can have lifelong implications for victims, including on their well-being.
While the physical wounds heal, there are several long-term consequences of experiencing the trauma of abuse or neglect. A child or youth’s ability to cope and even thrive after trauma is called “resilience,” and with help, many of these children can work through and overcome their past experiences.
Children who are maltreated often are at risk of experiencing cognitive delays and emotional difficulties, among other issues. Childhood trauma also negatively affects nervous system and immune system development, putting children who have been maltreated at a higher risk for health problems as adults.
The MANicure MovementSM is an effort to help raise awareness of violence against children as a national health crisis. Your blue polished finger represents the 1 in 5 children that are abused in the United States before the age of 18.
Community Based Care of Central Florida is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization.
Federal Tax ID 01-0631375
Have questions about the MANicure Movement? Call 321-441-2060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.