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Children's Advocacy Center: Child Abuse

The Facts

  • More than 3 million children per year are referred for abuse to state and local agencies
  • 1 out of 4 girls will be sexually abused before the age of 18
  • 1 out of 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18
  • 1 out of 5 children are solicited sexually while on the internet
  • 9 out of 10 child abuse cases are never reported
  • In 90% of cases, children are abused  by someone they know
  • More than 5 children die every day as a result of abuse
  • Survivors of abuse are at a greater risk for physical, emotional, work and relationship problems throughout their childhood and into adulthood
  • It is estimated that the United States spends $120 billion/year on costs related to child abuse

The Peoria County Children’s Advocacy Center averages 275 reported cases of child sexual and serious physical abuse annually 

 

The Signs

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is any physical injury caused by beating, punching, shaking, kicking ,biting or any other physical harm to a child. The injury may or may not be intentional. It may result from over-discipline or punishment.

Physical Indicators:

  • Bruises or broken bones on children not yet old enough to walk
  • Marks in the shape of an object
  • Unexplained bruises, burns, abrasions, fractures or cuts
  • Bald spots
  • Human bite marks

Behavioral Indicators(these signs do not prove there is abuse happening, but could be a signal that a child may need help; many of these signs could be caused by things other than abuse):

  • Wary of physical contact
  • Inappropriate or excessive fear of parent or caretaker
  • Unbelievable  explanations for their injuries or claim no knowledge of the source of injuries
  • Frequently be late or absent from school
  • Exhibit habit disorders – sucking, rocking, biting, or eating disorders
  • Wear clothing that may be inappropriate for warmer months – parents may dress the child to cover up bruises or marks
  • Anti-social behavior

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse includes fondling or other touching of a child’s genitals, forcing a child to touch the abuser, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, or the exploitation of a child through prostitution or pornography. Sexual abuse may be the most underreported form of abuse because adults often lure children into secrecy, shame and silence.

Physical Indicators:

  • Genital or anal itching, rashes, bruising , bleeding or pain
  • Pain during urination
  • Blood- stained underwear
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Difficulty sitting or walking
  • Pregnancy or Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Behavioral Indicators (these signs do not prove there is abuse happening, but could be a signal that a child may need help; many of these signs could be caused by things other than abuse):

  • Unusual interest or age-inappropriate knowledge of sexual matters
  • Inappropriate displays of affection or promiscuity
  • Excessive play with their own private parts
  • Fear being alone with a certain person
  • Nightmares or bed wetting
  • Drastic changes in appetite


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