There are not always obvious signs of child abuse that are apparent to other adults. In many cases, those who are inflicting child abuse on their children will involve the child in making up lies as to the regard of injuries or hit the child in such a way so that the injuries are not apparent. Teacher and other authorities have a duty to report signs of child abuse to state officials for investigation.
Not all signs of child abuse are evident by marks and bruises. In some cases, the child abuse may be sexual abuse as well as violence. One of the signs of this form of child abuse is a child being overly withdrawn. Children who are the victims of abuse typically have a very low self esteem and will not mix in well with other children. As they get older, they learn to hide the abuse and will often go to great lengths to avoid being caught. When it comes to sexual abuse, children often feel not only out of control when it comes to the situation, but also feel as though that the abuse is somehow their fault. They may view the sexual abuse as normal behavior if it has gone on for a long period of time and will usually cover up for the parent who is inflicting the abuse. Often, the child will try to appease the abuser more than the other parent and will be warned not to tell anyone about the secret that they have to conceal.
As a child gets older, signs of child abuse can be more evident. They may be hesitant about taking certain classes in school where they have to reveal bruises. They may cover up bruises by wearing clothing so that they can hide the abuse. They may act out their total lack of control that they feel over their own environment by inflicting the same abuse on other students. Girls who are the victims of sexual abuse usually behave in an inappropriate fashion and may behave in a sexually provocative manner, even as children. Girls often become promiscuous at an early age when they are the victims of sexual abuse or child abuse.
Teachers and caregivers should not only look for unexplained bruises when they suspect child abuse, but also at the behavior of a child. While some children are naturally a bit withdrawn, a child who is the frequent target of bullies at school and who does not fight back can be one who is used to child abuse and internalizes everything. A child who appears to know too much about sex for a child of their age can be the victim of sexual abuse. Children who show a complete lack of empathy for others are often the victims of child abuse as well. There are many signs of child abuse to look for that do not always include the obvious signs of a beating.
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