top of page


Always take seriously children's talk of being abused. Call 911 or child protection services immediately. If you have questions or are unsure what to do, call Mississippi's Intake Hotline 1-800-222-8000.

Know the Warning Signs of Child Abuse 

A child who's being abused may feel guilty, ashamed or confused. He or she may be afraid to tell anyone about the abuse, especially if the abuser is a parent, other relative or family friend. That's why it's vital to watch for red flags, such as:

·         Withdrawal from friends or usual activities

·         Changes in behavior — such as aggression, anger, hostility or hyperactivity — or changes in school performance

·         Depression, anxiety or unusual fears, or a sudden loss of self-confidence

·         An apparent lack of supervision

·         Frequent absences from school

·         Reluctance to leave school activities, as if he or she doesn't want to go home

·         Attempts at running away

·         Rebellious or defiant behavior

·         Self-harm or attempts at suicide


Specific signs and symptoms depend on the type of abuse and can vary. Keep in mind that warning signs are just that — warning signs. The presence of warning signs doesn't necessarily mean that a child is being abused.

Physical abuse signs and symptoms

·         Unexplained injuries, such as bruises, fractures or burns

·         Injuries that don't match the given explanation

Sexual abuse signs and symptoms

·         Sexual behavior or knowledge that's inappropriate for the child's age

·         Pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection

·         Blood in the child's underwear

·         Statements that he or she was sexually abused

·         Inappropriate sexual contact with other children

Emotional abuse signs and symptoms

·         Delayed or inappropriate emotional development

·         Loss of self-confidence or self-esteem

·         Social withdrawal or a loss of interest or enthusiasm

·         Depression

·         Avoidance of certain situations, such as refusing to go to school or ride the bus

·         Desperately seeks affection

·         A decrease in school performance or loss of interest in school

·         Loss of previously acquired developmental skills

Neglect signs and symptoms

·         Poor growth or weight gain or being overweight

·         Poor hygiene

·         Lack of clothing or supplies to meet physical needs

·         Taking food or money without permission

·         Hiding food for later

·         Poor record of school attendance

·         Lack of appropriate attention for medical, dental or psychological problems or lack of necessary follow-up care

Parental behavior

Sometimes a parent's demeanor or behavior sends red flags about child abuse. Warning signs include a parent who:

·         Shows little concern for the child

·         Appears unable to recognize physical or emotional distress in the child

·         Blames the child for the problems

·         Consistently belittles or berates the child, and describes the child with negative terms, such   as "worthless" or "evil"

·         Expects the child to provide him or her with attention and care and seems jealous of other family members getting attention from the child

·         Uses harsh physical discipline

·         Demands an inappropriate level of physical or academic performance

·         Severely limits the child's contact with others

·         Offers conflicting or unconvincing explanations for a child's injuries or no explanation at all

There's No Excuse for Child Abuse and Neglect!

bottom of page