Would you be able to recognize child abuse?

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By Jennifer Kaysen

Would you be able to identify an abused or neglected child? In most cases, a person isn’t always aware of the warning signs.

Here are some ways to spot abuse:

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  • Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn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

The Parent:

  • Shows little concern for the child
  • 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 emotional needs

The Parent and Child:

  • Rarely touch or look at each other
  • Consider their relationship entirely negative
  • State that they do not like each other

*Information provided by Child Welfare Information Gateway.

Child abuse is detrimental to the health and well-being of children. No child should have to feel unwanted or worried about their home life. The emotional and mental scars are permanent and could be the determining factor on whether a child can be successful or not in his or her future. All children need a primary attachment figure who will care for them through life’s ups and downs, protect them and guide them now and into adulthood.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, immediately call the New Jersey Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: 1-877-NJ–Abuse.

Also, please continue reading CASA’s blog tomorrow. We will be covering the different types of abuse (physical, sexual, etc.) and signs to help identify them.

Don’t forget that you can help! Become a supporter of CASA and our mission to be a voice for children who are victims of neglect and/abuse. You can also join the fight by registering and participating in the Superhero 5K Run/Walk and Family Fun Day. If you can’t participate, a donation would be greatly appreciated!


Child Welfare Information Gateway. “Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect: Signs and Symptoms.” Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect: Signs and Symptoms. N.p., 2007. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

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