Signs of abuse

Spotting the signs of abuse is not easy, as there are a multitude of possible clues and everyone reacts differently to such a horrific experience. We have compiled a list of behaviors and signs of abuse here.

How to recognize the signs of abuse?

Signs of abuse are harder to spot because children don’t speak directly about their distress. There are therefore seldom clear and unmistakable symptoms. Changes in behavior are usually the most obvious signs of abuse in children and adolescents. Conversely, of course, this does not mean that if a child shows a change in behavior, this is immediately a symptom of sexual abuse. The behavior can also have completely different reasons. But even if you suspect other reasons behind it, you should be attentive and carefully find out what is depressing your own child. Every child sends out different signals. They depend on the severity of the abuse, the developmental stage and age of the child, and the relationship between the abuser and the victim.

The most common signs of child abuse

Abused children often try to convey their fears and concerns via coded messages. The more of the signs of abuse mentioned below apply to a child, the more likely it is that the suspicion will be confirmed. What you can do if a suspicion is confirmed can be read here . Below we have summarized the most common signs of abuse in children:

Signs of abuse in young children

  • Sleep disorders e.g. nightmares, fear of the dark, fear of going to bed, crying, phobias, hysteria, bedwetting, etc.
  • Cries a lot or is unusually anxious
  • Relapse into toddler behavior e.g. thumb sucking, bedwetting, baby talk, etc.
  • Disturbed eating behavior
  • Striking anxiety states
  • clinging
  • Increased need for security
  • Retreat to fantasy worlds
  • No contact, unable to make friends
  • fear of adults
  • Shows unusual and exaggerated interest in people’s bodies, knows a lot about sex for his age and will recreate sexual activity while playing
  • Has a poor impression of himself and low self-esteem

Other signs of abuse in older children

  • break up friendships
  • School difficulties, such as truancy and poor performance
  • depression to suicidal thoughts
  • drug and alcohol abuse
  • Repeat crimes, particularly theft
  • Age-inappropriate sexual behavior

Physical signs of abuse

  • stomach pain
  • gastrointestinal upset
  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Pain or itching in the genital area
  • Torn, soiled, or blood-stained underwear
  • abdominal injuries
  • Blood in your urine or stools and pain when urinating or having a bowel movement
  • Bruises and bite wounds in the genital area
  • STDs
  • pregnancy

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