Signs of child abuse and neglect

Sometimes it can be difficult to know if your instincts about child abuse and neglect are right. There are often behavioural or physical signs of stress when a child has been, or is experiencing abuse.

Some signs include:

  • Distrust or wariness of adults
  • Extreme behaviour – aggressive, submissive, anxious, distressed
  • Low self-esteem, being withdrawn or having difficulty relating to adults or other children
  • Being overly obedient and trying hard to please
  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Excessive rocking, humming, sucking or biting
  • Bedwetting, frequent nightmares or sleeping difficulties (seeming tired and falling asleep at unusual times)
  • Seeming to be ‘accident prone’ or having unexplained bruises or injuries at different stages of healing
  • Explanations for injuries that are unbelievable, vague or don’t align with the type of injury

  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Not wanting to go home (or somewhere else)
  • Creating stories or artwork about abuse
  • Inappropriate sexual knowledge or behaviour for the age and development of the child.

Indicators of neglect include:

Malnutrition, frequent hunger and stealing or hoarding food

Inappropriate clothing ( particularly in winter)

Frequent illness, sores without band-aids or that don’t seem to heal, severe nappy rash, medical problems that don’t seem to be addressed

Poor hygiene (body odour, dirty skin or uncombed hair)

Comments that nobody is at home or that they do things by themselves

Young children not meeting developmental milestones when there is no underlying medical issue.

Frequent absence or being late to school

Being left unsupervised for long periods of time

Worried about a child?

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Referral

If you have any questions or would like to access our free counselling and support, please call us directly to discuss or make an appointment.

Completed referral forms can be accessed from the services section on our website and email to
mail@actforkids.com.au or call 1300 228 000

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Referral Services

If you have any questions or would like to access our free counselling and support, please call us directly to discuss or make an appointment.

Completed referral forms can be accessed from the services section on our website and email to
mail@actforkids.com.au or call 07 3850 3200

  • Drop files here or