Warning Signs of Abuse

Children react differently to abuse depending on age, extent of abuse, support from others and their relationship with the offender.

The presence of one or even many of these signs does not necessarily mean the child has been abused.

  • Heightened fear or anxiety

  • Increased tearfulness, crying, clinginess

  • Changes in sleeping patterns such as nightmares, bedwetting, fear of going to bed

  • Changes in appetite

  • Withdrawal from usual activities and friends

  • Changes in school performance, attention span, loss of interest

  • Nausea, upset stomach or frequent stomach aches

  • Aggressiveness

  • Sexual language and sexual behaviors “too old” for child’s age

If you feel that your child could be a victim, contact the DCFS hotline, law enforcement or call the Center to discuss your concerns. If you are torn between loyalty to your child and loyalty to the offender, find a professional such as a therapist, counselor, or minister to help you sort out your feelings. Make sure your child knows that he/she is number one priority!

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