Signs & Symptoms

Type of abuse definition and signs to look out for.

Physical Abuse:

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Bruises or marks
  • Fear
  • Watchfulness
  • Over anxiety
  • Round burns
  • Bite marks
  • Frequent absences from school

Sexual Abuse:

  • Comments about sexual activity
  • Sexual knowledge or comments which you would not expect from a child
  • Sexual behavious which is not what you expect from a child
  • Unexpected reactions of fear or wariness to people
  • Repeated urinary or genital infections
  • Pregnancy / sexually transmitted diseases

Emotional Abuse:

  • Unexplained gifts or money
  • Withdrawn, anxious behaviour, lack of self-confidence
  • Self-harm and eating disorders
  • Demanding or attention-seeking behaviour
  • Unwillingness to communicate
  • Repetitive, nervous behaviour such as rocking, hair twisting or scratching


  • The child’s clothes are often dirty, scruffy or unsuitable for the weather
  • No one seeks medical help when child is ill or hurt
  • The child is smelly and dirty
  • The child is left alone or with unsuitable carers
  • The child is thin, pale, lacking in energy
  • Lots of accidents happen to the child
  • The child is exposed to risks or dangers, such as dangers in the home or drugs or needles being left around