Staff

More »

You Can Help Stop Child Abuse

Print
Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Last year in California alone, over 21,000 children were victims of physical abuse, 8,000 were sexually abused and 29,000 children were victims of criminal neglect.  And, at least one out of two crimes in the United States go unreported, either because people don't think the police can do anything about it or because people don't want to get involved. 

How to Recognize the Signs of Child Abuse

In many cases, it is the information provided by victims and witnesses that results in the arrest of a criminal. 

No fact is too trivial.
The police need the eyes and ears of all citizens!

Many criminals develop favorite areas for working, as well as predictable methods of operation. When you report all the facts about a crime, it helps the police assign officers in the places where crimes are occurring or where they are most likely to occur. 

If you're aware of any situation involving child abuse,
please contact our Crime Prevention Assistance staff.
You may also contact the Los Angeles County Child Abuse Hotline at 800-540-4000.

Information about individuals living in this area with a criminal history that includes child sexual assault may be found in our Megan's Law page.

 

 


 

 

How to Recognize the Signs of Child Abuse

 Types of Abuse
 Common Signs of Abuse

Physical Abuse

Child's Appearance

  • Unusual bruises, welts, burns, fractures, or frequent injuries that are always explained as accidental
  • Clothing that covers up a lot of skin, especially in warm weather

Child's Behavior

  • Child says parents caused injury
  • Antisocial behavior with other children and adults: demanding, unpleasant, etc.
  • Frequently late or absent or often comes to school too early; hangs around after school is dismissed
  • Avoids physical contact with adults
  • Child's story on how a physical injury occurred is not believable
  • Seems frightened of parents
  • Apt to seek affection from any adult

Parent or Caretaker's Behavior

  • Has history of abuse as a child
  • Uses harsh discipline that doesn't seem right for the age, condition, or what the child did wrong
  • Offers an explanation of child's injury that doesn't seem to make sense
  • Seems unconcerned about the child's welfare
  • Sees child as bad, evil, a monster, etc.
  • Misuses alcohol or other drugs
  • Attempts to conceal child's injury or to protect the abuser

Emotional Abuse

Child's Appearance

  • Is withdrawn, depressed or apathetic
  • "Acts out," and is considered "a behavior problem"
  • Unwittingly makes comments such as "Mommy always tells me I'm bad"
  • Displays other signs of emotional turmoil, (repetitive rhythmic movements, inordinate attention to detail, no verbal or physical communication with others)

Child's Behavior

  • Unpleasant, hard to get along with, demanding, frequently causes trouble, won't leave others alone
  • Unusually shy, avoids others, too anxious to please, too submissive, puts up with unpleasant acts or words from others without protest
  • Either unusually adult in actions or overly young for age (for example, sucks thumb, rocks constantly)
  • Is behind for his/her age in physical, emotional or intellectual development

Parent or Caretaker's Behavior

  • Blames or belittles child
  • Is cold or rejecting
  • Withholds love
  • Treats children in the family unequally
  • Doesn't seem to care much about child's problems

Sexual Abuse

Child's Appearance

  • Has torn, stained or bloody underclothing
  • There is tearing, bruising or specific inflammation of mouth, anus, or genitals or evidence of semen
  • Has venereal disease

Child's Behavior

  • States he/she has been sexually assaulted
  • Shows an early and exaggerated awareness of sex, with either seductive interest or fearful avoidance of close contact with others
  • Appears withdrawn or engages in fantasy or baby-like behavior
  • Is engaging in delinquency or runs away
  • Has poor relations with other children

Parent or Caretaker's Behavior

  • Very protective or jealous of child
  • Misuses alcohol or other drug
  • Is frequently absent from home

Child Neglect

Child's Appearance

  • Often unclean and is tired or has little energy
  • Comes to school hungry
  • Often does not have lunch or lunch money
  • Clothes dirty or wrong for weather
  • Needs glasses, dental care or other medical attention

Child's Behavior

  • Frequently absent from school
  • Begs or steals food
  • Causes trouble in school
  • Often has not done homework
  • Uses drugs or alcohol
  • Engages in vandalism
  • Seems to be alone often for long periods of time
  • Parent or caretaker's behavior
  • Misuses drugs or alcohol
  • Has disorganized or upsetting home life
  • Apathetic outlook on life
  • Lives very much isolated from friends, relatives, neighbors
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Has long-term chronic illnesses