National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and schools working together to prevent child abuse. During the month of April and throughout the year, schools are encouraged to increase awareness and provide education to families through resources and strategies. All types of child abuse can impact a student in or out of the classroom, and there are steps that every school district can take to ensure that students who are being mistreated are able to get the help they need.
Know the Signs
Every year, U.S. Child Protective Services referrals involve 7.2 million children. Victims are equally likely to be male or female and majority are younger than 5. Feelings of fear, shame, and guilt combined with manipulative actions by perpetrators often lead children to lie or be silent about their abuse. The most common signs students may show might be physical, behavioral, developmental, and psychological.
- Frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts
- Is always “on alert,” as if waiting for something bad to happen
- Injuries appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt
- Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home
- Wears inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries, such as long-sleeved shirts on hot days
- Behavior extremes, such as being overly compliant and passive or very demanding and aggressive
- Increased avoidance or fear of a specific person or situation
- Difficulty expressing thoughts and feelings
- Failure to thrive socially or academically
- Slowed physical, emotional, or intellectual development
- Learning or speech disorders
- Low self-esteem
- Uncharacteristic obedience or perfectionism
- Strong shame or guilt
- Statements or behaviors that appear programmed
Children may show signs other than the ones listed above. Visit https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/241532.php#neglect for more information on warning signs of child abuse or neglect.