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Feb 5, 2013

Child Abuse continues to affect our Children

CHILD ABUSE Continues to affect our Children…HOW CAN YOU SPOT THE SIGNS? 

By: The Saint Lucia Medical & Dental Association

Child Abuse

DEFINITION – Deliberate violence to, or sexual assault/exploitation of a child, and/or neglect or intentional withholding of care.


  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Teen parent
  • Mental illness
  • Domestic violence
  • Parental past history of abuse
  • Family isolation
  • Poverty
  • Unwanted child
  • Child with a mental or physical disability, chronic illness, premature birth


PHYSICAL ABUSE – any act resulting in non-accidental injury.

Indicators include:

  • Unexplained sudden death of a child
  • Bruises, burns, wounds, lacerations, swellings, fractures not caused by an accident - cigarette burns, choke marks, finger-mark bruises, bullet wounds, belt and buckle marks, human bite marks, unusual burns, scars in varying stages of healing, grill marks on buttocks
  • Unusually located bruises – under arm, behind ears, genitals, buttocks, inside the mouth, neck, scald to the buttock or legs without splash marks
  • Unusually shaped bruises – linear, symmetrical, grasp marks, different stages
  • Internal injuries (skull fracture, neck fracture, rib fractures, detached retina) which might result from shaking (Shaken baby syndrome) or hitting with a blunt instrument.
  • Excessively harsh punishment (beatings that physically injure, tying a child, kneeling or sitting on a hot or rough surface, clothes pin to lips)
  • Injuries unusual for the age or developmental stage of the child – limb fractures in pre-mobile infants
  • Unexplained or recurrent injuries and/or conflicting explanations
  • Attempts by caretaker to hide injuries, including delays in seeking care
  • Giving alcohol or other non-prescribed medications to sedate or control a child
  • Statements from a child indicating the possibility of abuse

EMOTIONAL ABUSE/ NEGLECT – any direction (overt or covert) of hostility to a child by threatening, with-holding of affection or belittling the child’s capability, qualities and desires; gross or repeated failure to provide for a child’s physical or emotional needs resulting in harm or threatened harm to the child’s health or welfare.

Elements frequently co-exist with other forms of abuse.

Indicators include:

  • Deprived of affection and approval
  • Deliberately isolated from social contact and play
  • Kept in a state of anxiety through threats of abandonment or grave bodily harm to himself or a loved one, or supernatural harm
  • Regularly subjected to demands that are inappropriate for his age and stage of development
  • Repeatedly insulted or cursed
  • A repeated witness to violence
  • Made to beg
  • Deliberately left dirty, hungry or under-clothed
  • Kept in unsafe, unsanitary home
  • Left for long periods in the care of other minors
  • Lack of adequate supervision
  • Abandonment-deliberate desertion of a child threatening their well-being or chances of survival(“baby in bush or cesspit”, disabled children in hospital, migrating without proper contact or economic support)
  • Failure to meet medical needs (missed immunizations, fad diets/lifestyles)
  • Non-compliance with necessary medical treatment in  serious conditions
  • Gross lack of supervision resulting in repeated accidents or serious injuries (poison ingestion, serious burns, death)
  • Poor growth not due to a medical cause, poor social responsiveness, developmental delays, self-stimulatory behavior(head banging, rocking)

SEXUAL ABUSE – sexual exploitation of a child through violent or non-violent molestation or involvement of the child in sexual behavior for the gratification of the adult perpetrator. It may involve a spectrum of activities ranging from violent rape through non-violent sexual intercourse including Incest, oro-genital contact, inappropriate touching of the body, fondling of breasts, buttocks or genitals, kissing to merely inappropriate exposure or voyeurism, exposure to pornographic material, involvement in prostitution.

 Indicators may be physical or behavioral:

  • Pregnancy
  • Stained or bloody underwear
  • Obvious unexplained injury to the genitals or anal area(ruptured hymen)
  • Recurrent bruises on the genitals, thighs or buttocks
  • Difficulty sitting or walking
  • Pain or itching in the genital area or difficulty urinating
  • Sudden changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Other signs of STD’s including oral manifestations
  • Disclosure by the child
  • History or evidence of other forms of abuse or neglect
  • Age-inappropriate knowledge or expressions of sexual behavior
  • Sudden changes in behavior – anorexia, eating disturbance, sleep disturbances, nightmares, unusual aggression, self-harming or mutilation
  • Regression in development – e.g. bedwetting
  • Withdrawal, mood swings or overt signs of depression
  • Unexplained fear of a person, usually of the opposite sex, or unusual modesty or fear of undressing or genital examination, unusual avoidance of touch
  • Poor concentration
  • School failure
  • Truancy or running away from home
  • Unaccounted for possession of money or gifts
  • Promiscuity
  • Drug abuse

Category: General
Posted by: slmda_admin