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Childhaven Offers Tips on Recognizing Child Abuse Signs for Educators

It's back-to-school season, and those who work closely with young people will be in a better position to spot signs of child abuse and neglect. Childhaven, a nonprofit organization that works with abused and neglected children, urges educators to do their part.

According to the national nonprofit Prevent Child Abuse America, the behavior of children and youth may signal abuse or neglect long before any change in physical appearance. Here are some of the warning signs to watch out for:

  • Lack of adult supervision

  • Extreme passivity or aggression toward adults or other children

  • Inability to stay awake or to concentrate for extended periods

  • Sudden changes in behavior or school performance

  • Bizarre or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior

  • Watchfulness, as if waiting for something bad to happen

  • Frequent or unexplained bruises or injuries

  • Medical or dental problems that go untreated

  • Poor hygiene

  • Begging for or stealing food or money

  • Abuse of alcohol or other drugs

In addition, here are some warning signs to recognize in parents:

  • Shows little concern for or indifference to the child

  • When with the child, rarely touches or looks at him or her

  • Seems apathetic or depressed

  • Blames the child for his or her problems in school or at home

  • Sees the child as bad, worthless or burdensome

  • Demands perfection or a level of performance the child can't achieve

  • Behaves irrationally or in a bizarre manner

Child abuse and neglect can occur in any family, but the risks are greater in those struggling with mental illness, domestic violence, substance abuse, health issues, extreme poverty and lack of support systems. In today's economic climate, the risks can increase as financial pressures and family stress increase.

To learn more, including what to do if you suspect abuse, visit the Childhaven website.

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