Feel unhappy, frightened and distressed. Behave aggressively and anti-socially. Experience difficulties with academic achievement and school attendance. Find it difficult to make friends show signs of physical neglect and malnourishment. Don’t think they can achieve anything, don’t get involved with activities or socially. Isolate themselves from a group. Quiet and withdrawn.
Situations that should cause particular concern for professionals include: Delayed presentation / reporting of an injury; Admission of physical punishment from parents / carers, as no punishment is acceptable at this age; Inconsistent or absent explanation from parents / carers; Associated family factors such as substance misuse, mental health problems, and domestic violence and abuse; Other associated features of concern e.g. signs of neglect such as poor clothing, hygiene and / or nutrition; Observation of rough handling; Difficulty in feeding / excessive crying; Significant behaviour change; Child displaying wariness or watchfulness; Recurrent injuries; Multiple injuries at one time. Child appears frightened of others e.g. parent(s) or carer(s) Child doesn’t want to go home, or runs away
Child flinches when approached or when someone stretches a hand towards them Child reluctant to get undressed e.g. for games or sport
Child very passive or very aggressive
Frozen watchfulness – child sits very still watching what’s going on (waiting for the next hit) Equally could appear overly “happy” and “eager to please”
Inappropriate sexualised conduct; Sexual knowledge inappropriate for the child’s age; Sexually explicit behaviour, play or conversation, inappropriate to the child’s age; Continual and inappropriate or excessive masturbation; Self-harm (including eating disorder), self-mutilation and suicide attempts; Running away from home; Poor concentration and learning problems; Loss of self-esteem.
Presence of sexually transmitted disease
Young children with age inappropriate sexual knowledge, e.g. penetration, ejaculation, oral sex Explicit sexual drawings
Pain, SORENESS or itching in the genital or anal areas or mouth Disclosure from a child (to another child or an adult)
Young children acting out sexual behaviours, e.g. grabbing genitalia etc. Persistent bedwetting, nightmares and sleep problems Anorexia, bulimia, self-harm or excessive ‘comforting’ eating. Fear of a specific person, running away from home, substance abuse, child having unexplained gifts, including money. Children having ‘secrets’ that an adult says they are not allowed to tell. Secrecy around internet use and webcams etc.
Developmental delay; Abnormal attachment between a child and parent/carer e.g. anxious, indiscriminate or no attachment; Indiscriminate attachment or failure to attach; Aggressive behaviour towards others; A child scapegoated within the family; Frozen watchfulness, particularly in pre-school children; Low self-esteem and lack of confidence; Withdrawn or seen as a ‘loner’ difficulty relating to others.
Child has frequent cuts and/or bruises with excuses to explain them
• Physical complaints
• Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
• Has ripped or torn clothing at the end of the school day Behavioral indicators
• Child has a sudden reluctance to go to school
• Lost lunch money or personal possessions and has excuses they seem untrue
• Spends much more time alone
• Looking and acting sad
Courtney from Study Moose