Child Abuse and Neglect
Every day five children die because of child abuse and about 3 million children are reported as abused or neglected each year. In Georgia, a child is the victim of abuse every 30 minutes.
School officials, including nurses, are required under Georgia law to report suspected cases of abuse or neglect. A single sign is not enough to prove a child is being abused or neglected. However, signs occurring repeatedly or in combination may warrant taking a closer look at the situation. If child abuse is suspected, contact the local Department of Family and Children Services.
How to Spot Possible Abuse or Neglect
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Unusual or unexplained injuries
- Fear of a parent or other adult
- Fear of going home
- Faded marks after an absence from school
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Fearful behavior
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Inappropriate sexual knowledge or behavior
Signs of Emotional Abuse
- Behavior extremes, ranging from compliance to aggression
- Low self-esteem
- Abnormal fears
Signs of Neglect
- Poor hygiene
- Hunger (begs or steals food or money)
- Dressed inadequately for the weather
- Lack of medical or dental care
Warning Signs in Family Behavior
Eighty percent of child abuse cases involve a parent or guardian abusing their own child. Because schools often meet with parents, it's important to also be aware of warning signs within the family.
These include parents who:
- Lack skills and knowledge regarding child development.
- Have unrealistic expectations of their child.
- Describe the child as bad or worthless.
- Appear uninterested in the care, nourishment or safety of the child.