Identifying Child Abuse and Neglect
There are many misconceptions about child abuse, but the truth is that abuse occurs across all ethnic, social, and economic boundaries. To protect children, it is important to focus on the physical and behavioral clues that indicate abuse or neglect.
Neglect is the failure to act on behalf of child either physically, emotionally, or educationally. These children may wear clothes that don’t fit properly or are inappropriate to for the weather. They may be under or overweight and are often sick or tired. These children may also have poor hygiene.
Emotional abuse consists of continual attitude or acts which interfere with a child's psychological or social development. This includes saying things that make a child feel worthless or unwanted. These children often seem unattached or uncaring about what goes on around them. They often express fear, anger or sadness more often and intensely than most children. These children are often unsuccessful in school and hurt themselves on purpose. Children who experience emotional abuse often develop eating disorders, become addicted to drugs, or seek out dangerous activities.
Physical abuse is an act that results in non-accidental injury or threat of harm to a child. Common indications of physical abuse are bruises or injuries that aren’t explained by typical childhood falls or accidents. Also, injuries in unusual places, such as the inside of legs or arms, or on the back can indicate physical abuse. When the explanation for the injury changes, injuries occur frequently, and/or the injuries are left untreated, the child is likely the victim of physical abuse and the situation needs to be reported.
Sexual abuse is any sexually-natured act upon or with a child. Victims of sexual abuse often do not want to go to the bathroom and find it painful to urinate or pass stools. They may bleed through their pants and have discharges from their vagina or penis. These children often have age-inappropriate knowledge of sex. Many run away from home or attempt suicide. They may become drug abusers or prostitutes.
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, please contact us immediately. Our trained staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The law requires that the identity of anyone reporting a suspicion of child abuse and neglect is kept confidential. If you report a suspicion of abuse, your name is not shared with the family or anyone else except:
Many people are uncomfortable making a report to Richland County Children Services but it is often the first step in addressing the needs of the child and their family. Please help us protect and nurture the children in our community by reporting suspected abuse.