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Know the signs of abuse, neglect

Physical abuse:

• Unexplained bruises and welts to the face, torso, back, bottom or thighs and in various stages of healing.

• Unexplained burns like from cigars or cigarettes, immersion burns or rope burns;

• Unexplained fractures to the skull, nose or face.

• Unexplained lacerations or abrasions to the mouth, lips, gums, eyes or external genitalia.

• Behavior indicators -- wary of adults, apprehensive when other children cry, behavioral extremes, frightened of parents, afraid to go home, reports injury by parents.

Physical neglect:

• Physical indicators like consistent hunger, poor hygiene, inappropriate dress for the elements, consistent lack of supervision, unattended physical problems or medical needs, and abandonment.

• Behavioral indicators like begging for or stealing food; extended stays at school by arriving early and leaving late; constant fatigue, listlessness or falling asleep in class; alcohol or drug abuse; delinquency or thefts; and stating there is no caretaker at home.

Sexual abuse:

• Physical indicators include difficulty walking or sitting; pain or itching in genital area; bruises or bleeding in genital areas; venereal disease; pregnancy.

• Behavioral indicators include an unwillingness to change for or participate in gym class; withdrawal, fantasy or bizarre, sophisticated or unusual sexual behavior or knowledge; poor peer relationships; delinquent or runaway behavior; reporting sexual assault by caretaker.

Emotional abuse:

• Physical indicators include speech disorders; lags in physical development; failure to thrive.

• Behavioral indicators include habit disorders like sucking, biting and rocking; conduct disorders like antisocial and destructive; neurotic traits like sleep disorders or inhibited play; psychoneurotic reactions like hysteria, obsession, compulsion, phobias and hypochondria; behavior extremes like compliance, passive or aggressive, and demanding; overlay adaptive behavior -- inappropriately adult or infant; mental and emotional developmental lags; attempted suicide.