UACES Facebook C.E.S.P. 3-19: Recognizing Child Abuse
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Program Management

C.E.S.P. 3-19: Recognizing Child Abuse

Date Revised: 5-1-2001
Supersedes: 4-23-2001

Type of Child Abuse/Neglect:

I.  Physical Abuse:

A. Physical Indicators: 

Unexplained Bruises and Welts:

• on face, lips, mouth 

• on torso, back buttocks, thighs in various stages of healing 

• clustered, forming regular patterns 

• reflecting shape of article used to inflict (electric cord, belt buckle) 

• on several different surface areas   

• regularly appear after absence, weekend, or vacation

Unexplained Burns:

• cigar, cigarette burns, especially on soles, palms, back, or buttocks

• immersion burns (sock-like, glove-like, doughnut-shaped on buttocks or genitalia)

• patterned like electric burner, iron, etc.  

• rope burns on arms, legs, neck, or torso

Unexplained Fractures:

• to skull, nose, facial structure  

• in various stages of healing
multiple or spiral fractures

Unexplained Lacerations or Abrasions:

• to mouth, lip, gums, eyes  

• to external genitalia

B. Behavioral Indicators:

• Wary of adult contacts.

• Apprehensive when other children cry.

• Behavioral extremes:

aggressiveness, or withdrawal

• Frightened of parents

• Afraid to go home

• Reports injury by parents

II Physical Neglect

A. Physical Indicators 

• Consistent hunger, poor hygiene, inappropriate dress


• Consistent lack of supervision, especially in dangerous activities or for long periods

• Unattended physical problems or medical needs

• Abandonment

B. Behavioral Indicators

• Begging, stealing food

• Extended stays at school (early arrival and late departure.

• Constant fatigue, listlessness, or falling asleep in class

• Alcohol or drug abuse

• Delinquency (e.g., thefts)

• States there is no caretaker

III. Sexual

A. Physical Indicators

• Difficulty in walking or sitting

• Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing

• Pain or itching in genital area

• Bruises or bleeding in external genitalia, vaginal, or anal areas

• Venereal disease, especially in preteens 

• Pregnancy

B. Behavioral Indicators

• Unwilling to change for gym or participate in physical education class

• Withdrawal, fantasy, infantile behavior

• Bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual behavior or knowledge

• Poor peer relationships

• Delinquent or run away

• Reports sexual assault by caretaker

IV. Emotional Maltreatment

A. Physical Indicators

• Speech disorders

• Lags in physical development

• Failure-to-thrive

B. Behavioral Indicators

• Habit disorders (sucking, biting, rocking, etc.)

• Conduct disorders (antisocial, destructive, etc.)

• Neurotic traits (sleep disorders, inhibition of play)

• Psychoneurotic reactions (hysteria, obsession, compulsion, phobias, hypochondria)

• Behavior extremes:

compliant, passive aggressive, demanding

• Overly adaptive behavior:

inappropriately adult 
inappropriately infant

• Developmental lags (mental, emotional

• Attempted suicide