A sobering statistic from the US government: 872,000 children were victims of abuse or neglect in 2004.
Those are just the cases that were reported.
Unfortunately, many neglect and abuse cases are invisible or unrecognized – and go unreported.
A New York foster care and adoption agency put together a list of warning signs to aid in the detection and reporting of child abuse.
Besides obvious injuries on, or allegations by children, any of the following may be indicators of abuse:
- a child who fails to thrive
- a child who is improperly dressed for the weather
- a child who wears ill-fitting clothing or clothing in poor condition
- a child left without adequate supervision who has been injured by another child in the home
- a child who has indicated that a parenting adult is withholding food
- a parenting adult failing to provide adequate hygiene or seek medical attention for a child
- a child suddenly exhibiting signs of depression
- a child who is always tired
- a child who is always late to school
- a child who rapidly gains a tremendous amount of weight
- a child who exhibits an unhealthy preoccupation with sex
- a child whose behavior changes noticeably in any way
Too often, even when the signs are there, for whatever reason, no one makes the report.
Abuse recognizes no socioeconomic or racial borders. It can be anywhere, even where you least expect it.
Reports of abuse can be made anonymously and are confidential.
If you suspect that a child in Florida is being abused, the number to call is 1-800-96ABUSE.