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- Low self-esteem, being withdrawn or having difficulty relating to adults or other children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.