Author Tennyson Center for Children

If you see a child you know acting differently, it could be a sign of abuse or neglect.

When you have concerns for a child’s well-being, the indicators listed below may help guide you. Many of these signs could be caused by things other than abuse or neglect. However, these indicators can indicate that a child’s safety may be at risk and the situation should be assessed by a professional who is able to determine the causes of these symptoms and offer the help and assistance necessary to reduce the child’s risk.

Signs of Neglect*

  • Lacks needed medical or dental care, immunizations, or glasses
  • Is frequently absent from school
  • Begs for or steals food or money
  • Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather
  • States that there is no one home to provide care
  • Lacks adult supervision

Signs of Abuse

  • Discloses maltreatment
  • Is reluctant to be around a particular person
  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
  • Has unexplained bruises or injuries
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