In order to prevent child abuse and neglect, we must acknowledge its terrible truths. It hits close to home. Every year, 25,000 cases of child abuse and neglect are substantiated in Indiana. Children in the first year of life have the highest rate of abuse and neglect.
Recognize and Identify
Recognizing and identifying child abuse or neglect is often difficult because you may not witness or see it directly. Other times the evidence of child abuse is clear. Be aware of physical signs or behavioral changes in children.
Here are a few behavioral and physical factors that may help you identify abuse or neglect if you don’t witness it firsthand:
- Behavioral – Significant changes in behavior that are not readily explained; nervousness or aggression around adults; changes in personality, activities and concentration; low self-esteem; unusual “too perfect” behavior.
- Physical – Any bruising or injury in an infant who is not yet trying to walk; injuries to the ears, trunk or neck in children less than 4 years old; unexplained bruises or significant injuries; patterned bruises in the shape of an object or in unusual locations; very poor hygiene; severe malnutrition.
By reporting even the slightest suspicion of child abuse or neglect, you could help save the life of a child. Do not be afraid to report; you may be the only witness. Call the Indiana State Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-800-5556 to make an anonymous report or call 911 if a child is in imminent danger. Corrective investigative actions can then take place to help the child.
Additional resources are also available.