April Is Child Abuse Prevention Month: Signs And Symptoms Of Child Abuse

The month of April was proclaimed National Child Abuse Prevention Month by presidential proclamation in 1983.

According to Childwelfare.com, this month “is a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse, and to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families.”

Preventchildabuse.com describes what child abuse is, and how to recognize if a child is being abused or neglected.

“Child abuse can include any behavior, action or omission by an adult that causes or allows harm to come to a child,” the site explains.

There are many different types of abuse that children can endure aside from physical abuse.

Emotional Abuse:

Emotional abuse occurs when a child is maltreated, resulting in impaired psychological growth and development. Children who are emotionally abused tend to have low self-esteem, have personality changes, and become depressed or suicidal.

Here are several signs of emotional abuse from Healthyplace.com.

• Yelling or swearing
• Name calling or insults; mocking
• Threats and intimidation
• Ignoring or excluding
• Isolating
• Humiliating
• Denial of the abuse and blaming of the victim


According to Americanhumane.org, neglect is defined as “a type of maltreatment that refers to the failure by the caregiver to provide needed, age-appropriate care although financially able to do so or offered financial or other means to do so.”

Neglect is determined when a child receives inadequate care over a period of time. Some signs of neglect in children include “poor hygiene, poor weight gain, inadequate medical care or frequent absences from school.” There are many different types of neglect. Children can be physically neglected, emotionally neglected, medically neglected, and educationally neglected.

Sexual Abuse:

According to Apa.org, “sexual abuse occurs when children experience unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent.” Sexual abuse also includes using children for pornography or soliciting children as child prostitutes.

Sexual abuse usually occurs by someone the child knows well whether it be a family member or someone outside of the family.

The statistics for child abuse in the United States are startling. Preventchildabuse.com reports that “an estimated 681,000 children in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were determined substantiated victims of abuse or neglect in 2011.”

In 2011, an estimated 1570 children died from abuse or neglect. Of those, 75.7 percent were younger than four years old. The people responsible for the abuse are even more startling. 81.2 percent of the perpetrators were parents, and another 12.8 percent were relatives or caregivers.

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