Child Abuse Hotlines:
Missouri: 800-392-3738/Outside Missouri: 573-751-3448
Kansas: 800-922-5330/Outside Kansas: 785-296-0044
National Hotline: 800-422-4453
Recognizing Child Abuse
WHAT IS CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT?
According to the Missouri Legislature the following definitions apply to abuse and neglect:
Any physical injury, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse inflicted on a child other than by accidental means by those responsible for the child’s care, custody, and control; except that discipline including spanking, administered in a reasonable manner, shall not be construed to be abuse.
The failure to provide the child the proper or necessary support, education as required by law, nutrition, medical, surgical, or care necessary for the child’s well-being by those responsible for their care, custody, and control. Those responsible for the care, custody, and control of the child include, but are not limited to, the parents or guardian of the child, other members of the child’s household, or those exercising supervision over a child for any part of a twenty-four hour day. Those responsible for the care, custody, and control shall also include any adult who, based on their relationship to the parents of the child of the child, members of the child’s household or family, has access to the child.
Source: 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County, MO.
RECOGNIZING CHILD ABUSE
Know the signs of child abuse and neglect. The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect.
- Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
- Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention
- Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
- Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
- Lacks adult supervision
- Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
- Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
- Shows little concern for the child
- Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child’s problems in school or at home
- Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
- Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
- Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
- Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs
The Parent and Child:
- Rarely touch or look at each other
- Consider their relationship entirely negative
- State that they do not like each other
The presence of a single sign does not prove child abuse is occurring, but when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination, it might be time to reach out to authorities for support. Always report suspected child abuse to local child protection services or law enforcement.
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway