Child Abuse – Signs and Symptoms

Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm.

It commonly occurs within a relationship of trust or responsibility and is an abuse of power or a breach of trust. Abuse can happen to a child regardless of their age, gender, race or ability. Abusers can be adults (male or female) and other young people, and are usually known to and trusted by the child and family

Although these signs do not necessarily indicate that a child has been abused, they may help adults recognise that something is wrong. The possibility of abuse should be investigated if a child shows a number of these symptoms, or any of them to a marked degree:

Sexual Abuse

  • Being overly affectionate or knowledgeable in a sexual way inappropriate to the child’s age
  • Medical problems such as chronic itching, pain in the genitals, venereal diseases
  • Other extreme reactions, such as depression, self-mutilation, suicide attempts, running away, overdoses, anorexia
  • Personality changes such as becoming insecure or clinging
  • Regressing to younger behaviour patterns such as thumb sucking or bringing out discarded cuddly toys
  • Sudden loss of appetite or compulsive eating
  • Being isolated or withdrawn
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Lack of trust or fear of someone they know well, such as not wanting to be alone with a babysitter or child minder
  • Starting to wet again, day or night/nightmares
  • Become worried about clothing being removed
  • Suddenly drawing sexually explicit pictures
  • Trying to be ‘ultra-good’ or perfect; overreacting to criticism

A child may be subjected to a combination of different kinds of abuse.
It is also possible that a child may show no outward signs and hide what is happening from everyone

Sexual development progresses through a number of different phases:

  • infancy
  • young school age
  • pre-adolescence
  • adolescence

Each stage has behaviours which are considered ‘age-appropriate’., although it is also normal to a see a child exhibiting behaviour from the age group immediately above or below them.

If a child has learning difficulties or behavioural difficulties, it is important to consider their developmental stage.

Many adults are uncomfortable when they see children displaying sexual behaviour. Our judgements are affected by age, gender, personal experiences, cultural background, religious beliefs and profession.

It is normal for children of all ages to play and experiment and be curious about their own and each other’s bodies.

Ask yourself the Following questions

1.    Does the child seem ‘normal’ for their age?
2.   Do they seem emotionally or socially withdrawn?
3.   Are they unusually aggressive?
4.   Does the child seem dirty or smelly?
5.   Are they bruised or cut in any way?
6.   Is the child left at home by themselves?
7.   Are they left out late at night?
8.   Is their home clean and tidy?
9.   Does the child spend time with their family?
10. Do they seem to have a good relationship?

And Talk to your Kids… Always

Your child might not be abused but they might have Seen something happen to some other child, Talking is the best and most powerful tool we have.  Understand this that Sometimes children do not realise that certain behaviour is OK in private but not in public. Or they do not realise that their behaviour is upsetting or harming other children.  They may be uncomfortable talking about sexual issues and may also be worried they are in trouble so your tone and manner are very important. Or you might see this happening to other kids in your locality SPEAK UP.

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Comments
  1. Always Happy says:

    Thanks for educating and spreading awareness Bikram. It is a prime topic of discussion here in UK na?

    Like

  2. Anu says:

    Creating this awarness is really important, and is infact the need of the hour…
    An eye opener kind Bik! And yes…talk to your kids – always!! that is the best way to know!

    Like

    • Bikram says:

      Yes its very important , kids are the next generation and they should not be going trhough all this, not fair on them we have to d oour utmost to keep them safe they are after all the future.

      Like

  3. bedazzled says:

    Nice of you to join the bandwagon and do your bit in spreading awareness.

    Like

  4. i4deeps says:

    thats very informative one…
    thanks for sharing…

    Like

  5. V Rakesh says:

    A very important issue that needs deft handling. Thanks for doing your bit to create awareness.

    Like

  6. Renu says:

    very good info..and I would say that we should be extra careful that it doesnt happen, instead of realising the signs after it happened.

    Like

    • Bikram says:

      Yes we have to be acareful VERY careful about this, as i said earlier kids are our future .. yeah we shud try to catch it before it happens but then its a CRUEL world out there but we an try our best

      Like

  7. Chhavi says:

    That was very informative, Bikram. You are right. People have to speak up.

    Like

  8. Kids are afraid to tell certain things to parents – As you said, parents should not be always strict so that kids would want to talk about any possible abuse to their parents.

    Destination Infinity

    Like

  9. Rang says:

    Informative write-up Bikram, each and every point is meaningful. Glad that you joined hand in spreading the awareness.
    Thank you so much for the article 🙂

    Like

  10. shilpa says:

    This is a really important issue and it needs to be talked about. But unfortunately most people don’t talk about it to their children. They ought to tell their kids about what is a good touch and what is a bad touch. Its good that you are trying to make difference.I hope people learn their lesson from your post and I really wish that those who unfortunately became victims of child sexual abuse get the support they need from their family.
    I also wrote a post about it, though it was way too back in 2009. You might like to read it
    http://sharmashilpaonline.blogspot.com/2009/10/shall-i-compare-thee-to-dog.html
    .
    .
    .

    shilpa

    Like

    • Bikram says:

      Yeah thats the biggest problem parents not talking or not realising that the kid might be telling the truth. thanks I do hope people read and know I will surly read your post 🙂 thanks shilpa

      Like

  11. Ria says:

    Thnx for posting this n increasing the awareness. 🙂

    Like

  12. Sapna says:

    This is one issue which is very prevalent in India but its existence goes unnoticed. Definitely needs more awareness. Thanks for posting this…

    Like

  13. Novroz says:

    Very informative.I don’t have child yet but I’ll keep this in mind.Thank you for sharing it, Bikram

    Like

  14. Ashwathy says:

    Brilliant write-up Bikram…good show!

    And yes the most important thing for parents to do is to keep the communications lines open with the child….talking is so important….and also to take them seriously when they say something….

    Like

    • Bikram says:

      Thank you so much. when we were training we were constantly told that the biggest weapon we have is OUT MOUTH , talking helps a lot and its a very good way to solve things …

      Like

  15. Neeha says:

    I am glad you are bringing awareness through your blog.

    Like

  16. Tanishka says:

    Thanks for sharing the post… Spreading awareness is really important and what better platform than our blogs… 🙂

    Like

  17. Rachna says:

    It is a great post. The more we speak about these topics, the more aware we will be about them and more watchful too. I have two sons, and I am already talking to him about good touch and bad touch. And, like you correctly pointed out communication with the child is the key. Let the child have the faith that the parent will be there always no matter what and that he can share whatever is there in his heart or mind with his parent.

    Like

  18. harman says:

    ..this one this scares me so much about my kids…I often keep an eye on behaviour patterns
    and educate my kids But world is full of devils.
    very accurate and timely post…it summer time and kids go out to play more often!

    Like

    • Bikram says:

      Yes thats how to g oabout it Harman, Talking helps a lot we dont have to be strict or shout at them .. talking generally helps a lot and yes telling them too what is right or wrong. world is full of evil.. yes summer is here too and guess what we have had sun for 5 days in a row .. its UK can u beleive that .. itsa MIRACLE 🙂

      Like

  19. Wildflower says:

    Thanks for this bikram, eye opener for all!!

    Like

  20. melissa says:

    i pray we could do more for them… but thank you very much for your post… awareness is the first step 🙂

    Like

  21. Rekha says:

    very nice of you to come up with this reminder…here, people prefer to push it under the carpet …the abuse need not be physical but visual imagery imposed on young confused kids is quite a likely form of abuse…

    Like

    • Bikram says:

      Thank you .. yes people prefer to push it under the carpet and i really cant understand how can a parent do that .. or why would they .. the child is there first responsibility they brought the child ot this world, rest doesnot matter , how can they do it … they should not have them if they cant take care of them. and i agree with you visual abuse is quiet bad toooo .. thanks for mentioning that

      Like

  22. B K CHOWLA says:

    Every possible effort by each one must be made to create awarness

    Like

  23. Good to see someone writing about such a sensitive subject, commendable job. I hope this and more such articles create more and more awareness on the subject.

    Like

  24. Saritha says:

    Wonderful post bikram.I have been reading all that is written in CSAA.Hope no child gets abused……..

    Like

  25. Punam J R says:

    The best part of your article was what you wrote in BIG letters – talk to your kids always. You know, this is something that I had raised in my CSA contribution too – that never cultivate the fear of authority in your kids.. make them your friends. Issues like these are shared only when the teenage kids see a friend in their parents. There must always be communication both ways – fruitful communication that builds trust.
    And the warning signs and symptoms are informative.
    I’d also like to add ssomething more by way of signs here –
    1. The child becomes very very self-conscious and always keeps worrying about how he/she looks – keeps adjusting and readjusting his/her clothes/hair/glasses..
    2. Fidgeting hands, dodging looks, always looking back over his/her shoulder as if someone was following him/her.
    3. Restless leg syndrome.

    – These are all signs of anxiety going through the child coupled with the guilt that he/she has done something wrong. This is usually the reaction of some kids as they r not mature enough to understand that it’s the doer who is committing a crime.

    Like

    • Bikram says:

      Yes talking helps a lot … thanks for sucha lovely comment and that big tooo 🙂

      and thank you for adding your point to it too… I agree to them fully 🙂

      Like

  26. Thanks for this informative post! If only more people knew this stuff!

    Like

  27. Jzt4me says:

    My heartfelt support to the cause…

    My eyes are always open for such issues, especially with kids…Past experiences do teach us a lot, right…

    Like

  28. IRFANUDDIN says:

    Very Good Post…..
    Thanks for sharing it here….its always important to have proper communication with kids.

    Like

  29. asha says:

    And Talk to your Kids… Always

    a very important message for all parents. Important to communicate and spend quality time than shower them with all material comforts.

    Two thumbs up for this post!

    Like

    • Bikram says:

      Yes always and its the biggest and the strongest wapon we all have. yeah quality time is a must , gifts dont mattter that much

      thank you for the Thumbs UP 🙂

      Like

  30. A says:

    Very good post Bik. Noble cause 🙂

    Like

  31. Tom says:

    Thanks fr sharing these info Biks..

    Like

  32. Nethra says:

    Bringing up a kid must be really a hard job. I wonder how my parents managed it.

    And that was a very sensitive topic and very much to the point. Sometimes punishing a child for the mistakes that it has done is also considered as being abused, ain’t it?

    Like

    • Bikram says:

      YEah I know its a diffiuclt job i too think how do parents maange, and i totally understand the problems i agve my parents.

      well punishing a kid depends on what they have done I dont have anything against that, i have been punished beaten and all sorts it has not done any harm to me i think sometimes this human rights thingy also goes too far …

      Like

  33. pujathakur says:

    Agree with the points you mentioned…

    Great and Informative post..

    Like

  34. Talk to your kid – always. This is very important and talking the way it assures them to open up to you is more important. How many parents these days “find” time to talk to their children?

    Like

    • Bikram says:

      Thanks you sir. yeah i agree how many parents “FIND” time cause they shud not be FINDING time they shoud HAVE time for the kids always … no wonder we get so many problems these days ..

      Like

  35. Deboshree says:

    This was a very informative post Bikram. Good work. I hope this can be useful to the parents of such ill-fated children. There is nothing love can’t cure.
    And it’s sad how many child abuse cases go unnoticed.

    Like

    • Bikram says:

      Thank you so much. glad you liked it.. Well i hope this helps not jsut hte ill fated but all parents and they can save someone from this. yes sad and saddest is when parents thenselves want to push it under the carpet .. cause most of the time the abuser is a family member or someone very close…

      Like

  36. Purbaray says:

    This is a wonderful initiative you have taken. Spreading awareness is the need of the hour.

    Like

  37. Shas says:

    Very informative. Education is the first step towards eradication of the problem. Thanks for writing on it. I am linking it to my post on the same topic.

    Like

  38. Bikram says:

    Thank you so much.. Good to see you here 🙂
    Education is a must for any change .. thanks for linking it tooo 🙂

    Like

  39. ladynimue says:

    Many times the most trusted ones are the culprits for a child being sexually exploited. Sad that most children will not know it is wrong till they grow old. Such childhood memories can harm one till long time ..

    good post. Thanks for this !

    PS : Can i please re blog it on my blog ?

    Like

    • Bikram says:

      Yes so very true thats why teach kids right and wrong fron early stage and talk to them always.

      thanks for liking the post. And yes yes do reblog It would be my pleasure thanks.

      Like

  40. Punam J R says:

    The songs fit ur current frame of mind very well. And they contain a lot of truth in them. The kid’s song was good too.

    Like

  41. Punam J R says:

    oops sorry… galat post pe comment kar diya 🙂
    me too sick.. i guess i need some REST. 🙂

    Like

  42. […] Child Abuse – Signs and Symptoms Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm. It commonly occurs within a relationship of trust or responsibility and is an abuse of power or a breach of trust. Abuse can happen to a child regardless of their age, gender, race or ability. Abusers can be adults (male or female) and other young people, and are usually known to and trusted by the c … Read More […]

    Like

  43. Bikram, Nimue sent me your link, and I’m so glad she did.

    I am very open about being an incest survivor – my father abused me and my sister from the time we were very young. I didn’t realize what was “wrong with me” (unearned guilt) or why I didn’t want to be close to anyone sexually for many years. Finally, with the help of two gifted therapists, I was able to identify my secret shame.

    IT’S ALMOST ALWAYS A PARENT OR CLOSE FRIEND OR RELATIVE. Schools scare the bejeezus out of kids in the US, sending them home with notices about predators in their neighborhoods… but they don’t believe their own kids when their daughter says “Uncle Henry makes me feel weird when I sit on his lap” or such.

    Parents need to wake up. I broke the cycle of abuse in my little family by marrying a truly appropriate, intelligent man. I thank God every day for my new life.

    Amy Barlow Liberatore, Madison, WI, USA

    Like

    • Bikram says:

      Wlecome ot this blog.. than you for visiting and please do keep visiting …

      yes always someone we trust who does the bad to us .. glad you shared your story .

      yes parents have a huge role to play these days and they have to be wary about such incidents , they have to be … God bless you and congrats on meeting the appropriate intelligent man 🙂

      Like

  44. iBeingMe says:

    Very good post and very informative… 🙂

    Like

  45. Thanks for your post Bikram. We certainly cannot over-emphasise the importance of ensuring that one’s children feel safe about coming and talking to one about such incidents.

    Like

    • Bikram says:

      Thank you so much. yes you are right we cannot over emphasise for in this ugly world as much as we do the less it is .. so we got to keep working on it all the time and do the best for the chidlren after all they are the future …

      Like

  46. Prateek says:

    I believe bringing up child is the most difficult & delicate task and fighting against abuse on them is a very neat initiative by you. Win this.

    Like

    • Bikram says:

      It indeed is and pity these days parents dont have that much time due to reasons and other things happening in the world. As always if we all get together then we can win this one too. Thank you so much.

      Like

  47. aaradhnak says:

    Best is to educate them right when they start gaining understanding of “uncomfortable-touch”…..

    and talk to them as a friend so that they feel free to share evrything 🙂

    Informative post there Bikram 🙂

    Like

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