Nearly 700,000 children are abused or neglected each year. Even more concerning is that this mistreatment is often at the hands of family or family friends. That leaves teachers, caregivers, or other adults responsible for reporting suspected abuse.
Signs of Child Abuse
The toll of child abuse goes far beyond physical harm. Children can experience serious emotional damage from abuse. Caregivers and others can look for the following signs of child abuse:
Emotional and behavioral signs of child abuse
- Attempts at suicide
- Attempts to run away
- Changes in behavior
- Defiant behavior
- Frequent school absences
- Hiding food
- Sexual contact with other children
- Reluctant to leave school or activities outside the home
- Sexual behavior not appropriate for the child’s age
- Sudden loss of self-confidence
- Withdrawal from social activities and friends
Physical signs of child abuse
- Unexplained injuries
- Injuries that don’t match the explanation
- Poor growth
- Sexually transmitted infection
- Sudden weight gain
Reporting Suspected Child Abuse
If you think a child is being abused or maltreated, tell the authorities. Call local police or contact West Virginia Child Welfare Services by calling the Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline: 1-800-352-6513.
Suspected Child Abuse Medical Evaluations
WVU Medicine Children’s works closely with local authorities to provide consultations and medical evaluations for victims of suspected child abuse and neglect. We accept referrals from primary care providers, law enforcement, child protective services, or other community services.
An official report of the suspected maltreatment should be made to child protective services or law enforcement prior or in conjunction with the referral. Medical evaluations are closely coordinated with local investigatory efforts, and reports are generated to the responsible investigatory agency.
Please contact us at 304-598-4835 for additional information about medical evaluations or consultations for suspected child abuse.