Child abuse is always a concern, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, we should be even more vigilant. Typically, domestic abuse spikes during times when families are forced to spend time alone together, such as during the winter holidays, summer vacations or extended unemployment. The pandemic has made it more difficult for abused children to see other caregivers and mandated reporters, such as teachers, school counselors and daycare providers.
If you suspect a child is being abused, it’s important to know how to spot the signs of child abuse in Lubbock, TX. The following is an overview—if you think a child is suffering from abuse, call the authorities as soon as possible:
- Signs of emotional abuse: Many of us are under the impression that abuse isn’t really abuse until there are bruises or broken bones involved—but emotional abuse can significantly damage anyone, including children. Belittling, shaming, calling names, ignoring and withholding affection can seriously hurt a child. Signs of emotional abuse include children who are excessively afraid of doing something wrong, exhibit extreme behavior on either end of the spectrum, act as a caregiver for a much-younger child and don’t seem attached to their caregivers.
- Signs of neglect: Neglect involves not providing for a child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, reliable shelter and more. This may not be intentional on the parent’s part, but still needs to be addressed. Warning signs include bad hygiene, ill-fitting or inappropriate clothing (think shorts in winter), constant illness or physical injury, kids who are left alone and children who do not show up to school.
- Signs of physical abuse: Physical abuse might have some of the easiest signs to spot, but even if there aren’t physical injuries visible, you can be alert to its presence. For example, a physically abused child might be hypersensitive to adults’ moods or emotions, especially anger. If you see frequent unexplained injuries, especially if they look like they might have been inflicted by a hand or a belt, or if the child flinches from touch and wears inappropriate clothing (such as long-sleeved t-shirts in very hot weather), they may be victims of physical abuse.
- Signs of sexual abuse: Child sexual abuse is particularly horrific because of the shame associated with it. Many kids are too afraid to come forward, especially because they know it will cause upheaval for their family unit. Look for children who have trouble walking or sitting, have unexplained STDs or pregnancies (especially in children under 14), strong aversions to a specific person, refuse to change clothes in sporting or other non-sexual situations and who have run away from home.
If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms of child abuse in Lubbock, TX, it’s imperative that you call a trusted authority for help. Children are among the most vulnerable populations in the world, and rely upon the vigilance of other adults to get help.
The Law Office of Rob Biggers is open during COVID-19, and continues to work toward fair and just resolutions for our clients. Call today to schedule your consultation.
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