Reasonable suspicion for reporting child abuse often falls on teachers, coaches, school employees, doctors or other mandated reporters. Parents, parents of a child's friend or relatives are examples of discretionary reporters. There are four types of child abuse: physical, sexual, neglect and emotional.
Here are some warning signs that a child may have been abused.
Physical clues Facial injuries (black eyes, swollen lips) Multiple injuries in different stages of healing Unattended medical problems or infections Stained, torn, or filthy clothing or underclothing Bruises or trauma on back, buttocks, or thighs Repeated series of bruises or broken bones Burns from objects or scalding water Painful urination or defecation Pain or injury around genital area Signs of malnutrition (thin, fainting, hunger) Sexually transmitted disease Significant increase in physical complaints Rope burns Bite marks Urinary tract infections Extremely offensive odor
Behavioral clues Extreme anxiety, guilt or shame Unexplained crying Difficulty sleeping or recurrent nightmares Rregressive behavior (acting much younger) Clinginess or acting excessively responsible Fear of certain adults Extreme dependency on other adults Increasing isolation and withdrawal Running away from home Depression or passivity Extreme aggressiveness, anger or verbal abuse Inappropriate sexual behavior Dramatic change in school performance Chronic truancy Suicidal ideas Substance abuse
Parental clues Unwilling to provide for child's needs Indifferent to child's condition or safety Unable to explain child's injury Gives improbable explanation for child's injury Cannot describe anything positive about child Constantly and angrily criticizes child States destructive thoughts about hurting child Uses belt or other object to discipline child Discipline of child is impulsive or out-of-control Expects child to serve or fulfill adult's needs Describes child as "evil" Has unrealistic expectations about child's development
Environmental clues Broken windows Lack of utilities (heat, water, electricity) Faulty electrical fixtures Insects, mice or rats Spoiled food Unsanitary kitchen Garbage or hazards in the yard Yelling or crying heard from outside
To report child abuse
Here are local telephone numbers to report child abuse: Contra Costa:
877-881-1116 Alameda County:
510-259-1800 Santa Clara County:
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.