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Recognizing Child Abuse


The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect.

The Child:

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance

  • Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention

  • Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes

  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen

  • Lacks adult supervision

  • Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn

  • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home.

The Parent:

  • Shows little concern for the child

  • Denies the existence of - or blames the child for – the child’s problems in school or at home

  • Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves.

  • Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome

  • Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve

  • Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs

The Parent and Child:

  • Rarely touch or look at each other

  • Consider their relationship entirely negative

  • State that they do not like each other


Child Welfare Information Gateway. 
Available online at

Reporting Child Abuse


If you suspect abuse or neglect, call 855-444-3911 any time day or night. This toll-free phone number allows you to report abuse or neglect of any child or adult.

One number. One call. One person can make a difference.


For more information on reporting abuse or neglect, please visit Hancock County Job  and Family Services website

Responding to Child Abuse


If a Child Reaches Out to You


  • Remain calm.

  • Believe the child.

  • Allow the child to talk.

  • Show interest and concern.

  • Reassure and support the child.

  • Take action. It could save a child’s life.



  • Panic or overreact.

  • Press to child to talk.

  • Promise anything you can’t control.

  • Confront the offender.

  • Blame or minimize the child’s feelings.

  • Overwhelm the child with questions

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