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Behavioral and Physical Warning Signs that a Child has been Abused:

 

Any one sign does not mean that the child was abused. Some of the behaviors below can show up during stressful times in a child's life, as well as when abuse occurs. If you see several of these signs in a child you know well, please begin to ask questions.

  • Nightmares, trouble sleeping, fear of the dark, or other sleeping problems.
  • Extreme fear of "monsters".
  • Spacing out at times.
  • Loss of appetite, or trouble eating or swallowing.
  • Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, anger, or withdraw.
  • Fear of certain people or places. For example: a child may not want to be left alone with a baby-sitter, a friend, a relative, or some other child or adult; or a child who is usually talkative and cheery may become quiet and distant when around a certain person.
  • Stomach illness all of the time with no identifiable reason.
  • An older child behaving like a younger child, such as bed-wetting or thumb-sucking.
  • Sexual activities with toys or other children, such as simulating sex with dolls or asking other children / siblings to behave sexually.
  • New words for private body parts.
  • Refusing to talk about a "secret" he or she has with an adult or older child.
  • Talking about a new older friend.
  • Suddenly having money.
  • Cutting or burning herself or himself as an adolescent.

This information is meant to educate you about offenders in Jefferson County. It has not been made available for you to take action against any individual. Any action against an offender which is determined to be a violation of law will subject the violator to arrest and prosecution.
 
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