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Different types of abuse and neglect have different physical and behavioral indicators.

Physical Abuse
Physical Indicators Behavioral Indicators
Unexplained bruises and welts:
  • On face, lips, mouth
  • On torso, back, buttocks, thighs
  • In various stages of healing
  • Cluster, forming regular patterns
  • Reflecting shape of article used to inflict (electric cord, belt buckle)
  • On several different surface areas
  • Regularly appear after absence, weekend or vacation
Unexplained burns:
  • Cigar, cigarette burns, especially on soles, palms, back or buttocks
  • Immersion burns (sock-like, glove-like doughnut shaped on buttocks or genitalia)
  • Patterned like electric burner, iron, etc.
  • Rope burns on arms, legs, neck or torso
Unexplained fractures:
  • To skull, nose, facial structure
  • In various stages of healing
  • Multiple or spiral fractures
Unexplained laceration or abrasions:
  • To mouth, lips, gums, eyes
  • To external genitalia
Wary of adult contacts
Apprehensive when other children cry
Behavioral extremes:
  • Aggressiveness
  • Withdrawal
Frightened of parents
Afraid to go home
Reports injury by parents
Physical Neglect
Physical Indicators Behavioral Indicators
Consistent hunger, poor hygiene, inappropriate dress
Consistent lack of supervision, especially in dangerous activities or long periods
Constant fatigue or listlessness
Unattended physical problems or medical needs
Begging, stealing food
Extended stays at school (early arrival and late departure)
Constantly falling asleep in class
Alcohol or drug abuse
Delinquency (e.g. thefts)
States there is no caregiver
Sexual Abuse
Physical Indicators Behavioral Indicators
Difficulty in walking or sitting
Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
Pain or itching in genital area
Bruises or bleeding in external genitalia, vaginal or anal areas
Venereal disease, especially in pre-teens
Unwilling to change for gym or participate in PE
Withdrawn, fantasy or infantile behavior
Bizarre, sophisticated or unusual sexual behavior or knowledge
Poor peer relationships
Delinquent or run away
Reports sexual assault by caregiver
Emotional Maltreatment
Physical Indicators Behavioral Indicators
Habit disorders (sucking, biting, rocking, etc.)
Conduct disorders (antisocial, destructive, etc.)
Neurotic traits (sleep disorders, speech disorders, inhibition of play)
Behavior extremes:
  • Compliant, passive
  • Aggressive, demanding
Overly adoptive behavior:
  • Inappropriately adult
  • Inappropriately infant