Recognising Abuse

Child abuse is any act that harms a child’s physical or emotional health or development. It is frequently a pattern of behaviour by an adult or peer. Below is some general information that may help you identify abuse in the life of a child. This information will not cover every circumstance, so be aware of anything unusual or out of character for the child. Indicators may have other causes not related to abuse, nevertheless share any concerns/observations with your Ministry Coordinator or Minister.

Abuse Key Indicators
Physical Abuse
Hitting & shaking
Burning or scalding
Bruises or fractures
Giving children alcohol, illegal drugs or
excessive medication
Domestic and Family Violence
Corresponding injuries
Unexplained or hidden injuries
Fearful or nervous
Aggressive OR passive behaviour
Psychological or Emotional Abuse 
Persistent Rejection or hostility
Constant yelling, insults or criticism
Cultural affronts or racism
Teasing and bullying
Witness to Domestic or Family Violence
Low self esteem
Unexplained mood swings
Agressive OR passive behaviour
Attention seeking
Sudden underachievement
Age inappropriate behaviours
Developmental delays
Not providing a child sufficient food,
housing, clothing, sleep, hygienic living
conditions, or health care.
Leaving a child under 12 y.o. unattended for an “unreasonable time”
Children missing school
Frequent hunger or malnutrition
Poor hygiene
Inappropriate seasonal clothing
Medical needs not met
Unsupervised for long periods
Withdrawn or aggressive
Indiscriminate with affection
Sexual Abuse or Exploitation 
Kissing or holding a child in a sexual
Exposing a sexual body part to a child.
Exposing children to sexual acts or
Making obscene phone calls or remarks to child.
Sexual relations with child under 16 y.o.
Grooming activities
Genital injury
Sexually transmitted disease
Anxiety or depression
Persistent and age-inappropriate sexual activity or behaviours
Regressive behaviour (eg bedwetting)
Preoccupation with sexual matters
Secretive relationships with adults or children.
Self injurious or delinquent behaviour

If you suspect that a child is at risk of harm or they have disclosed abuse to you, please report this information.