Marin Child Abuse Prevention Council

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The following links provide detailed information about child abuse and neglect.

Physical Abuse

Indicators of abuse are not in and of themselves conclusive evidence of abuse. They are“clues”or “red flags” that help may be needed.

Physical Indicators

Bruises and welts on the face, lips or mouth, or in various stages of healing, on large areas of the torso, back, buttocks, or thighs, in unusual patterns, clustered, or reflective of an instrument.
Burns: cigarettes; glove or sock like burn; doughnut shaped burns on buttocks or genitalia (hot liquid immersion); burns showing the shape of iron, grill, etc.
Fractures (skull, jaw, or nasal fractures); spiral fractures of the long bone (arm & leg); fractures in a child under two years of age.
Lacerations and abrasions.
Bite marks.
Behavioral Indicators

​Wary of physical contact with adults.
Clingy and indiscriminate attachment.
Apprehensive when other children cry.
Demonstrates extremes in behavior (aggressive/passive).
Seems frightened of parents or going home.
Seems overprotective of or responsible for parent.
Drastic behavior change in and out of parent’s presence.
Attempts suicide, self mutilates or has school behavior problems, runs away, or drinks/uses drugs.
Caretaker's Behavior

Has history of abuse as a child.
Uses harsh discipline, inappropriate to the child’s age, transgression.
Offers illogical, unconvincing explanations of what occurred.
Significantly misperceives child (e.g., sees him as the devil, etc.).
Misuses alcohol or other drugs.
Attempts to conceal child’s injury or to protect identity of responsible person.
Hits or verbally abuses child in front of others.
Exhibits bizarre, out of control behavior.


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