Child Abuse

 Look for the signs

Dial 1-800-96-ABUSE

 Signs of Physical Abuse

  • The child may have unexplained: bruises, welts, cuts, or other injuries, broken bones, burns
  • A child experiencing physical abuse may: seem withdrawn or depressed, seem afraid to go home or may run away, shy away from physical contact, be aggressive, wear inappropriate clothing to hide injuries

Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • The child may have: torn, stained or bloody underwear, trouble walking or sitting, pain or itching in genital area a sexually transmitted disease
  • A child experiencing sexual abuse may: have unusual knowledge of sex or act seductively, fear a particular person, seem withdrawn or depressed, gain or lose weight suddenly, shy away from physical contact, run away from home

Signs of Neglect

  • The child may have: unattended medical needs, little or no supervision at home, poor hygiene, appear underweight.
  • A child experiencing neglect may: be frequently tired or hungry, steal food, appear overly needy for adult attention

Look for the Patterns

  • Serious abuse usually involves a combination of factors.  While a single sign may not be significant, a pattern of physical or behavioral signs is a serious indicator and should be reported. 

If a child tells YOU about abuse:

  • Be a good listener.  Show that you understand and believe what the child tells you.  Encourage, but don’t pressure him/her to talk.  Ask open ended questions.
  • Be supportive.  Tell the child he/she did the right thing by coming to you.  Stress that he/she is not to blame.  Let the child know that you want to help.
  • Don’t overreact.  This can frighten the child or prevent him/her from telling you more.  Do not talk negatively about the suspected abuser in front of the child. 
  • Document and report it.  Document your conversation as soon as you can.  If possible, write down the child’s exact words. 
  • Don’t delay.  Never assume someone else will report the abuse.  The sooner it’s reported, the sooner the child and their family can be helped. 

 WHO MUST REPORT ABUSE?

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Police Officers
  • Child Care Workers
  • Any Witnesses
  • Any/All School Personnel

 Call or Report it online at:  http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report/