Complex family issues can develop when couples with children divorce. Joint custody arrangements don’t always allow for direct control over who is associated with our children. Former spouses make new friends, remarry, or find new “significant others,” and, sadly, abusive relationships do occur. Parents should learn to recognize the symptoms of abuse in children and act to protect them when necessary.
Symptoms of Abuse in Children
According to the Mayo Clinic, an abused child may be confused, ashamed, and afraid to communicate about the abuse he or she has suffered. For that reason, concerned adults should watch for red flags and symptoms of abuse in children. If you suspect your child is a victim of abuse, contact an experienced family law attorney immediately for advice on the most effective legal action to take.
Children who are being abused may become rebellious or defiant, depressed, or anxious. They may run away from home or be frequently absent from school. Abused children may be reluctant to go home after school activities, and some may even attempt suicide.
Abusive behavior toward children can occur in various forms. In can consist of personal neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, or sexual abuse, and each type of abuse has its own set of symptoms.
Signs of Neglect
- Poor hygiene
- Insufficient clothing and supplies to meet physical needs
- Hiding food for later or eating large amounts in single sittings
- Poor weight gain or growth
- Lack of proper medical attentionPoor school attendance
- Indifferent attitude
- Emotional swings inappropriate to the situation
Signs of Emotional Abuse
- Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
- Social withdrawal or lack of interest and enthusiasm
- Avoiding certain situations, such as attending school or riding the bus
- Drop in school performance or loss of interest in school
- Desperately seeking affection
- Stomachaches or headaches with no medical cause
- Loss of developmental skills previously acquired
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Bruises, fractures, burns or other injuries that are unexplained
- Medical or dental problems left untreated
- Injuries that don’t fit the explanation given for them
- Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Sexual knowledge or behavior inappropriate for the age of the child
- Sexually abusive behavior toward other children
- Complaints of genital pain or difficulty walking or sitting
- Statements from the child about sexual abuse suffered
- Blood in the child’s underwear
- Sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy
Our Los Angeles family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Omar Gastelum & Associates, PLC have a wealth of experience representing California clients in a wide range of family law matters. If you have detected symptoms of abuse in a child, contact our office as soon as possible. We can advise and guide you in the correct legal actions to take to remedy the situation.