Girl Swinging

Warning Signs Of Child Abuse You Need To Watch Out For

Having a child is one of the gifts of life that a lot of people hope to get; after all, a child can always make our day. Unfortunately, not all lives of children are perfect, and some of them fall victim to abuse. Sometimes, we encounter children every day and not know that they’re already showing signs of child abuse. If we want to help protect children and avoid cases of child abuse, we should be more aware of the signs of child abuse to watch out for, especially if you encounter children every day.

Do remember however that the tips below aren’t the only signs of child abuse you should be aware of, and if you’re extremely concerned about the status of some children in your area, you may want to consult a lawyer, a police officer, or even a psychiatrist about the telling signs of child abuse you should be aware of and what course of action you should take in order to make sure children in your area are protected from child abuse.

Warning Signs Of Child Abuse You Need To Watch Out For

Physical Signs of Child Abuse

If there are any noticeable signs of child abuse you shouldn’t ignore, it’s the physical signs on a child’s body. These are warning signs that should immediately give you a heads up that there’s something wrong with a child. Try to be on the lookout for these telling signs.

  • A child might be abused if they have bruising, burns, or welts that can’t be explained. This is particularly if these injuries are found on the mouth, lips, or face. Check to see if there are bruising patterns that are in the shape of things you find at home that may have been used to hit them, such as wire hangers, bite marks, hairbrushes, belts, and hands.
  • Clustered burns, welts, and bruises may indicate some form of repetitive contact with an instrument or hand. If there are places on a child’s body where they don’t normally get hurt such as the thighs, back, neck, and buttocks, then you might be looking at a victim of child abuse.
  • Take note of abrasions and lacerations, or tears in gum tissues, lips, and eyes as these indicate injuries on the face or even force-feeding.
  • Try to take note if a child has blood in the underwear, complaints of pain in the genitalia, or trouble walking and sitting.
  • If a child appears to exhibit poor hygiene, poor growth in both weight and height, or the lack of appropriate dental, medical, or psychological attention, then these might also be indications of abuse.

Emotional Signs of Child Abuse

Unfortunately, sometimes the signs of child abuse can also manifest emotionally. Children who exhibit withdrawal, appear fearful, or even show some form of extreme behavior might be abused and don’t have an outlet to share their pain.

  • Children that have sudden changes of behavior such as anger, hyperactivity, aggression, and hostility might indicate some sudden change in the household as well, or a sign of a traumatic experience.
  • If children begin to exhibit changes in school performance or a reluctance to go to school or even a reluctance to go home, then perhaps there might be something wrong at home that needs looking into.
  • A child who shows defiant and rebellious behavior such as attempts to runaway may be experiencing child abuse. This is much more so if there are visible attempts at self harm or even suicide.

If a child has a loss of self-esteem or self-confidence and even withdrawal from socializing with others, or perhaps the opposite, where a child always seeks affection from others, then these might be indications of something wrong at home.

Withdrawn Child

Signs of Abuse From Parents

Sometimes, parents themselves show that they may be abusing their children. These are also things we may need to take note of if ever we are concerned about their children.

If they show little to no concern for the child or appear to be incapable of recognising emotional or physical distress from their child, then they may be neglecting them.

  • If the child often becomes the receiving end of blame, berating and belittling, then the child may be experiencing the same at home.
  • If they demand quite the inappropriate standards when it comes to academic or physical performance to the point of forcefully withdrawing their children from contact with others, then this can also be a telling sign of abuse.
  • If parents have conflicting, inconsistent, or unconvincing stories about how a child’s injuries have occurred, then child abuse may have happened at home.

The official website of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts also has detailed guidelines on what signs to check in terms of child abuse and neglect, and numbers you should call should you find yourself in the area. Please be in touch with your own local authorities for a good course of action should you encounter these signs in your area as well. 

Read Also: Emotionally Abusive Relationships – Signs, Effects and Coping Tips


Life is not perfect, and it has its own ups and downs for us to appreciate and conquer. However, despite life’s own share of sad moments, children help make everything feel better thanks to the ray of hope they give when they are inquisitive, curious, and creative. Some say the children we see are the hope for the future, and sometimes it can break our hearts when we see them hurt, sometimes by the people that should care for them.

The above tips could hopefully give you some warning signs of child abuse you need to watch out for in order to make sure children in your area are adequately protected. Should you encounter these signs, it’s best you contact the authorities and ask for the best course of action regarding the situation.

Irene LawAbout The Author

Irene Wall has been writing about law for more than a decade. She writes pieces on various law topics that she hopes could help the common reader with their concerns. She enjoys playing basketball with her sons during her free time.


Check Also

Girl reading smiling

World Book Day: Four Reasons To Unplug And Read A Paper Book

According to the National Reading Survey more than half of South African adults still live in households …


  1. Thanks for this informative article.

    Reading this, makes me so sad because this happens everyday.

    I always try to imagine what kind of person can and would do these horrible things to a defenseless child?

    Not only do you inflict physical pain, but the emotional repercussions of these acts are so damaging.

    You basically ruin this child’s life.

    I followed the highly publicised story of the 3 year old Poppie that was kicked and beaten to death after she and her 5 year old brother was the victims of abuse for the majority of their small lives.

    The photo of Poppie haunted me for weeks and when I followed the court case and read about the horrors that happened to them, my heart was breaking for those children.

    My mind just can’t deal with so much evil that exists.

    The signs were there. People spoke up but nothing was done to protect these children.

    Children are so precious and should be protected, not victimized.

    I pray every day that my JD will grow up to be a strong young man and that no harm will come to him. If anyone ever hurts my child, I don’t know what I will do.

    • This is so so sad ?, but it is a reality. We live with monsters among us who hurt innocent children, animals and the elderly. And together with this sadness is a feeling of powerlessness. There are so many abuse that we will never know about and the victims will suffer or ever die in silence.

  2. This is such a good article for parents as well as teachers. I do believe that the children are the future and therefor it is everyone’s responsibility to take one another. We should have “Ubuntu” where my child is your child.

    Children are often to scared to speak but they reach out to us in the form of cues. A cue is a signal or behavior that does not need any form of speaking. In order for a parent/teacher to be able to identify these signs, we need to know what to look for.

    I do believe that any form of abuse is a vicious circle. Somewhere somehow the parent/teacher might have been abused or bullied and they continue in the vicious circle.

    I would definitely shared these warning signs with my students because they will be working 8 hours a day with these
    precious kids of ours.

    Brilliant article!

  3. Thank you for making us aware of this. Would share this and make my friends aware of this aswell.

    This is such a sad thing to think about when you are a mother. Childreb are such great gifts.

  4. Thanks. This is such an informative article. As a counselor who worked for an NGO I unfortunately often encountered abuse in homes. This is a sad reality in South Africa often disguised as “discipline”.

    Professions that encounter children daily (such as teachers and youth workers etc) should be made aware of the signs of abuse and thoroughly trained in what protocols to follow when they encounter it.

    It is very sad that often times a lot of people would have been willing and able to help, had they only known. Great read, will definitely share on my page to spread awareness.

  5. this is such a good and informative article for parents. kids that are abused from an early age thinks it is normal as they growing up. kids grow up traumatised and withdrawn. it is so heartbreaking as kids are innocent.
    why bring a child into this world if you are going to abuse them??
    every child deservesnthe right to a proper upbringing and should be loved and looked after and not be a victim of abuse.

  6. This is a very good article, thank you very much

    I am a forensic social worker, doing forensic evaluations and investigations with children who have been victims of physical and sexual abuse, or who have been exposed to situations that may have caused them any form of physical or emotional trauma.

    It is very important to educate parents, teachers or any person working with children on the importance of talking with your child and knowing what is going on in their lives. Children rarely talks about abuse because the perpetrator might mostly be somebody they love or are very familiar with. Children may also be intimidated, manipulated or threatened not to disclose any form of abuse they may be exposed to.

    Parents please know and be interested in the small aspects of your children’s life’s, and then they will have the need to tell you about the big or bad things in their lives. Insure your child that you will always listen to them and protect them

    Empower children by teaching them that abuse is wrong and that they should always tell when they are being hurt

    Be involved in your children’s life’s

    • Thank you Tarina for sharing your knowledge on this subject. It is so scary how much abuse goes on and when it is against children… I can’t even think about it.

  7. Catherine Pierce

    Such an informative and thought provoking read. Even as adults, who think we have seen it all and know it all, this is a wake up call.

    We think its not our business, or that maybe we don’t know or can’t possibly understand what is going on in someone’s home.

    The phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” has never been more true. How do we turn this into something powerful enough for anyone to take action? To ruffle the feathers? To say, I will do what I need to do to help this child?

    The reality is, everyone thinks that SOMEONE else will do SOMETHING…Its not my place… “ITS NONE OF MY BUSINESS…”

    Maybe this truth will hit home, I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, as well as physical and emotional abuse. My family did nothing, because “I must have dreamt it”. ” I didnt understand”
    My abusers took their crime to the grave with them.

    Today, I have come a long way. I am married, I have a child. And I stay at home with my child to keep him safe. Because heads will roll if anyone dare lay a finger on him. He will know his body is his body and he has the right to say NO! That he is loved. And that we will ALWAYS be there for him no matter what.

    Damaged? I am. Broken? No, because it’s taken a long time to realise what happened to me was not my fault. The people who should have protected me did not. The ones who could make it stop, turned away. I’m so glad that their pride and images are still intact. At my expense.
    Do I see the world differently? Yes. My village failed me.

    So what should you do? Don’t turn a blind eye. Don’t be a washout. You can make a difference. You can change a life. You can save a life. Because not every victim makes it. How did I make it? Fighting tooth and nail for my soul. Because I refuse to give up and give them the satisfaction of breaking me.

    Don’t leave it to someone else. Because these scars, they live with you forever. It will never fade. You learn to cope and deal with it. If you are lucky.

    Pay attention, risk something. I wish someone did for me. Do the right thing. MAKE it your BUSINESS!

    • I am sorry you had such an awful experience as a child Catherine. Our children need to be protected and you are so right, it is everyone’s responsibility to do this.

  8. This is a great article!
    The topic of child abuse and creating awareness is not easy. Yet the author treated it with such sensitivity and wisdom.
    As a social worker I have been on various sides of the spectrum – from prevention to intervening in abuse cases – and it is never easy or simple. Often the amount of brokeness you come into contact with – both on the child and the parents – can be overwhelming.
    However, as parents we have the most valuable gift to offer our children in the face of an uncertain world, and that is by intentionally and lovingly building their their resilience. This doesn’t have to be anything complicated, but the simple things such as giving our children language to express and explore their feelings. Providing them with opportunities to talk about their feelings and in turn acknowledging them. This can be from talking about a bully at school to something as seemingly small and insignificant as what it was like for them when their ice cream fell into the sand and they couldn’t finish it. Placing value on the things and feelings our children value, goes a long way to them trusting that we will be ready and willing to listen when they have something big to say.

    Another point of resilience is building their pride and ownership in their own bodies and giving them appropriate language to talk about all of their bodies and bodily functions. Our own embarrassment here may hinder them from sharing about important events or asking important questions related to both their growth and possible dangerous scenarios.

    Thank you, Irene for sharing the signs with us!

  9. Kids are very sensitive to verbal abuse as well. My child is very sensitive to the way that he is spoken to. He started now to write down his feelings. He started poetry on his Facebook and he is doing so well. At least he is offloading and expressing his feelings. I feel this is a way for him to review his feelings as well. I believe writing everything down helps him to get rid of these negative feelings.

  10. This is so sad to read and breaks my heart that we need to discuss it but I guess in today’s day and age we have no other choice!

  11. This is so haunting in every parents life.

    This is an amazing post to make you more aware of what to look out for, my husband’s sister is now staying with us after being in an abusive relationship, and she is only 17 years old, on the edge of becoming a woman her child heart has been broken and her whole life changed.

    Nobody deserves to go through abuse, and if people turn their heads around and walk away they need to wake up. As soon as me and my husband began to suspect abuse in their relationship we went to our lawyers and they put us in contact with the right people at social services so we could help her in the right way.

    One might think it will be best to just take the abused kids and get them out of there, but in my experience now I have seen that you cannot do it alone, not only has the victim accepted the abuse, but they don’t know how to live without it.

    Smaller children are more attached to their parents and it makes it even more traumatizing to them when they are taken away from them. If you ever see or think that someone is being abused make the right choice and speak up, call a social worker or go see a lawyer. It is not always just what one sees from the outside, there are emotional connections that one needs to take into consideration.

    It is never easy being in the middle of somebody else’s fight but children can’t speak up, they don’t know what is right and wrong. It is our duty as adults to make sure that they have the best lives possible.

  12. This is something so important that should be given more attention to by everyone. I just read an article 2 days ago about the kids in Bloemfontein that was beaten and raped and forced to do drugs by the parents . no one is protecting these children . the laws on child care should be reviewed and drastic changes should be made we are losing our kids daily due to unfit parents, family members and those who is supposed to be protecting the child.

    No child should ever have to feel fear and pain , no child should have to die at the hands of his/her parents. government and the justice system has to look at what is happening and drastic measures needs to be taken to protect our kids. In the town I live in we have a house of safety for unwanted babies , when you feel you are not able to provide for the baby for whatever the reason may be then you can anonymously drop the baby in the home of safety box which has an alarm when the baby is placed inside. this home is run by a family with no support or financial assistance from the government. They have been trying to get the government to assist with the needs of the babies since 2014 and no one ever arrives for the meeting thus they are not taking the fact of abused and children in need serious enough.

  13. Genevieve Stander

    As a survivor of sexual abuse as a child, this article hit home for me. It happened in my home, and no one knew, no one saw. 2 years of hell, and I was too scared to say anything. I hope that I am able to raise my 3 kidlets to first of all know that their bodies are theirs and theirs alone, and also that if something awful were to ever happen to me, that they must tell me as soon as possible. Child abuse is never the child’s fault, but sadly so many are coerced into believing that it is.

  14. I’ve taught preschool kids and its a scary thing just to know that you are responsible for that little life. In my training I’ve had to visit many school. Well equipped school to schools that have nothing. I’ve seen how some teachers can have so much love for children and how some teachers can be just so aggressive and careless. I believe abuse comes in many forms. It might not be physical or emotional. It can simply just be the way you speak to a child. There are lots of adults out there that think kids don’t have integrity. That they won’t remember those words when mommy fetches them from daycare. I’m not saying it happens at all daycares but I’ve seen enough to make me think twice about letting just anyone take care of my kids. I’m not trying to put fear into anyone but sometimes you really need to take note of every little thing and take nothing for granted. If you feel something is not right, trust that feeling. Have it checked out. Ask questions, investigate until you are satisfied. We as parents need to realize that the abuser doesn’t look a certain way. It can be anyone. So ALWAYS be aware and protect our kids from these predators.

  15. The saddest part if this article is that this happens daily. This is the life of so many little children. It just breaks my heart. I honestly don’t get why anyone would want to hurt a child in ANY way.. I constantly pray that something like this never happens to my child and I actually started teaching her from a very young age that your private parts if off limits for everyone. The world is becoming one sick place..

  16. We live in a broken world. One simply can’t be naive about this anymore. A sad reality.
    When I was little, about two years old, my mom dropped me off at a carer’s house. I was looked after by her along with two other children.

    Although I can’t really remember anything. My mother has vivid memories of how I would scream as she dropped me off. She did not suspect anything at first. Until one evening, whilst bathing me, she noticed red marks on my back and across my legs.

    When confronting the lady about it, she said it must have happened at home.

    I always wondered why people would work with children (or even animals) if they don’t have the love for it. The passion for it. Baffles me.

    One can only hope and pray that our children will be kept safe from abuse. They are precious gifts meant to be loved and cherished.

  17. In the times we live in, you cannot take any sign for granted. It is a sad reality that we live in and it is difficult to step out of your comfort zone to invade someone else’s privacy and there is the legal aspect as well if you have no proof, but we simply cannot ignore the fact that it is happening and our silence makes a child suffer even more.
    When my son was about 9 months old, he went through a routine change and acted out violently. It was so bad that we though he might have epilepsy and went to see the paediatrician. He told us that we should film the episodes so that he could see what we were dealing with. As soon as he heard the word “no”, he would throw himself backwards and have ato physical fit. The one night he was on the bed and did something and as soon as I told him not to, he threw himself off the bed and bruised his upper thigh as he landed. I tried to pick him up and comfort him and see if he was ok, but he crawled in under the bed where I couldn’t get him. The next afternoon when I picked him up from school, the owner of his playschool asked me if he got a hiding. I was quite taken aback by this because I don’t hit my child. A tap on the nappy every now and again, but never actually hit him. When I asked why she asked, she told me about the bruise. When I explained, she didn’t want to believe me, because he didn’t exhibit this behaviour at school. I had to physically go to the paediatrician to get a motivation for her to prove that I didn’t abuse my child. As soon as our routine returned to normal, the behaviour stopped and I could breathe again.
    I was very upset at the time because this was coming from the school where I had to take my son in, put him on the floor to distract him, and run for it. By the time I reached my car, I could hear him scream. This stopped when I changed schools.
    What I am trying to say, I guess, is that it is a delicate situation which has to be handled in a sensitive way but by no means ignored. I would not have been so affronted if my explanation was accepted and my child monitored by them. If she did that, she would have seen that if was it was an isolated insident and I would have felt proud that my son’s school is active against child abuse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!