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Child Abuse Stories - Identifying and Preventing Child Abuse Stories

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From a report released in 2007, an estimated 5.8 million children were victims of child abuse in an estimated 3.2 million child abuse cases and allegations. As staggering as that number is, it continues to grow on an annual basis. Knowing how to properly identify cases of child abuse and neglect is the first step towards treatment and prevention. Taking a little bit of time to learn some of the warning signs of abuse can provide the knowledge needed to help a child in need and reduce the number of child abuse stories in this country.

While it can be difficult to identify victims of child abuse, there are some common signs to watch for. Many child abuse stories could have been rewritten if these signs had been spotted and acted upon by a responsible and caring individual.

Fear of returning home – Abused children will often show signs of anxiety or fear when it comes time to leave school, a friend or family member’s house or church. The thought of going home is terrifying to them because they are afraid of what may happen to them once they get there.

Unexplained injuries – This is one of the most common, and easily spotted, signs of abuse, but it often goes unquestioned. Kids get hurt all the time during the course of normal play, slips and falls, so it can be difficult to recognize injuries that result from abuse. Look for unusual burns, bruises in the shape of objects and injuries that the child cannot readily explain or cannot explain convincingly.

Drastic changes in behavior – Many stories of child abuse are first identified as a result of changes in the child’s behavior. Abuse victims tend to become depressed, scared, withdrawn or aggressive. In some cases, they can become very anxious and jittery and stop enjoying the same types of things that once brought them happiness.

Regressing behavior – In some abuse cases, children will begin to resort to behavior that reminds them of their early childhood such as bed wetting or thumb sucking. This regression is a mental defense mechanism which helps to give them the feeling that they are living in a time before the abuse started. Although psychological in nature, this type of behavior can have serious tangible affects like loss of speech or memory.

Changes to eating habits – Eating disorders are common in child abuse stories. The emotional and mental trauma of abuse can cause some children to try and seek comfort in food, often overindulging and gaining significant amounts of weight. Other children become so disgusted by the abuse that they lose their appetite completely and suffer severe weight loss.

Changes in sleeping patterns – It is no surprise that victims of abuse can suffer from recurring nightmares. These dreams can cause the victim to wake often throughout the night, and in some cases, scares the child so badly that they refuse to sleep. Both situations can lead to exhaustion, fatigue and lack of focus.

Declining school performance – Victims of child abuse will often suffer from a drastic decline in their performance at school. Fatigue, malnutrition and emotional distress from the abuse can make it difficult to concentrate on their work. A loss of interest may also impact their effort, resulting in poor grades. Frequent absences may also be indicative of abuse. Many children blame themselves for the abuse they receive, and as a result, they may be ashamed to go out in public. Absences may also be a result of parents keeping the children home to hide the physical signs of abuse that are evident.

Onset of risky or dangerous behavior – Many child abuse stories end with the child taking their own life. Often times, they turn to drugs, alcohol and weapons to cope with the pain of the abuse that they have suffered. While under the influence, these kids turn to suicide as their only escape from the world of abuse they live in.

Everyone can play an active role in helping to identify and prevent child abuse stories. Simply being observant and asking question when suspicions arise can go a long way in curbing further abuse. Letting children know that they have safe places to go and people they can confide in if they are in an abusive situation can make a huge difference in their lives.

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