Health and Mind: National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Published 10:47 am Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Shaundra King

Clark County Health Department

There are multiple types of child abuse and these types of abuse are more typically found in combination than alone. A physically abused child is often emotionally abused, and a sexually abused child may also be neglected. In order to help prevent child abuse, it is important to be aware of the signs of child abuse and the actions to take. Below are signs that may signal abuse.

Email newsletter signup

Signs of physical abuse

• If a child has unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones or black eyes.

• Has fading bruises or other marks after an absence from school.

• Seems frightened of parents or to go home.

• Shrinks at the approach of adults.

Signs of neglect

• When child is frequently absent from school.

• Begs or steals food or money.

• Lacks needed medical or dental care.

• Is consistently dirty/has body odor.

• Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather.

States no one is at home to provide care

Signs of Sexual Abuse

• Child has difficulty walking or sitting.

• Refuses to participate in physical activities/gym.

• Reports nightmares or bedwetting.

• Experiences a change in appetite.

• Demonstrates sophisticated sexual knowledge.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

• Shows extreme aggressive or passive behavior.

• Is delayed in physical or emotional development.

• Reports lack of attachment to parent.

Child abuse can affect children not only in childhood, but has lasting effects later in life as well. A child that has been abused is more likely to abuse substances and participate in risky sexual behaviors. They are more likely to experience pregnancy at an early age and experience difficulties with emotional attachments. They are more likely to experience depression/anxiety in life. They are also more likely to experience health complications, such as lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, stroke, or heart attack.

Any concerned person can report suspicions of child abuse and neglect. Professionals, such as nurses, doctors, and social workers are mandatory reporters. For more information, please see the Child Welfare Information Gateway publication, Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect: For more information on how to file a report, please contact The Kentucky Child Protection Branch at 1-877-597-2331 or 1-800-752-6200. You can also file a non-emergency report online or call 911 in case of emergency.