Home  >  For Professionals  >  Child Abuse and Neglect
print   Bookmark and Share  |  A  A  A

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.