Identifying and Reporting Physical Abuse
According to ChildWelfare.gov, in 2014, an estimated 702,000 children were victims of abuse or neglect nationwide. Tragically, an estimated 1,580 children died from abuse and neglect alone in 2014. Nearly 63 percent of all reports of alleged child abuse or neglect were made by professionals.
What is considered child neglect or physical abuse in Texas? Physical abuse in children can consist of shaking, punching, stabbing, throwing, hitting, beating, burning, or biting a child. Sadly, the abuser is most often one of the people you have entrusted to keep your children safe, such as a friend, relative, or daycare staff member.
No parent should have to live in constant fear for their child’s well-being. However, the first step of preventing or stopping the physical abuse of a child is being aware of the signs of physical abuse. According to the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, here are some signs, both physical and emotional, that could be a result of physical child abuse:
- Unexplained injuries (bruises, cuts, burns, bite marks, etc.)
- Changes in behavior — abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, or aggressive.
- Returning to earlier behaviors (such as thumb-sucking, bedwetting)
- Fear of going home — abused children may express apprehension or anxiety about going places with the person who is abusing them.
- Changes in eating — abused children may experience weight gain or weight loss due to stress, fear, and anxiety.
- Changes in sleeping — abused children may have nightmares and difficulty falling asleep.
- Changes in school performance and attendance — abused children may have difficulty concentrating in school or have excessive absences.
- Lack of personal care of hygiene — abused children may appear uncared for, dirty, or have severe body odor.
- Risk-taking behaviors (such as drug and alcohol use, or carrying a weapon)
- Inappropriate sexual behaviors (overly sexualized behavior or use of explicit language)
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has a central place to report child abuse and neglect and abuse of a child in child-care facilities or treatment centers. Texas law says anyone who thinks a child is being abused, neglected, or exploited must report it to DFPS.
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453
Texas Abuse Hotline: 1-800-252-5400
Thomas J. Henry’s Commitment to Child Welfare
Thomas J. Henry is committed to causes and organizations which aim to improve the welfare of children, especially children who have suffered abuse or neglect. ChildSafe is a Children’s Advocacy Center — and the only one in Bexar County — that provides specialized services to children and teenagers who have been physically abused, neglected, or sexually abused.
In 2015, Thomas J. Henry made a $350,000 donation to ChildSafe – the largest individual donation ChildSafe has ever received. This donation will allow for the design and establishment of a new web-based training meant to help teachers and school employees recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect.
Contact an Experienced Child Abuse Lawyer
If you believe that your child has been the victim of physical abuse, contact Thomas J. Henry. For over two decades, Thomas J. Henry has been an advocate for physical abuse victims across the state of Texas. Our experienced child injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to take your call. Contact us today for a free case review.