Behavioral and Physical Warning Signs
that a Child has been Abused:
Any one sign does not mean that the child
was abused. Some of the behaviors below can
show up during stressful times in a child's
life, as well as when abuse occurs. If you
see several of these signs in a child you
know well, please begin to ask questions.
- Nightmares, trouble sleeping, fear
of the dark, or other sleeping problems.
- Extreme fear of "monsters".
- Spacing out at times.
- Loss of appetite, or trouble eating
- Sudden mood swings: rage, fear,
anger, or withdraw.
- Fear of certain people or places.
For example: a child may not want to be
left alone with a baby-sitter, a friend,
a relative, or some other child or
adult; or a child who is usually
talkative and cheery may become quiet
and distant when around a certain
- Stomach illness all of the time with
no identifiable reason.
- An older child behaving like a
younger child, such as bed-wetting or
- Sexual activities with toys or other
children, such as simulating sex with
dolls or asking other children /
siblings to behave sexually.
- New words for private body parts.
- Refusing to talk about a "secret" he
or she has with an adult or older child.
- Talking about a new older friend.
- Suddenly having money.
- Cutting or burning herself or
himself as an adolescent.
This information is meant to educate you about offenders in
Jefferson County. It has not been made available for you to take action against any
individual. Any action against an offender which is determined to be a violation of law will
subject the violator to arrest and prosecution.