Susheelkumar V Ronad1*, Chetan S Patali2, Shridhar H Gondbal3, Kirankumar TC4, Mallikarjuna Ronad5, Pankaja TC6 and Rajendra Badesgol7
1Department of Psychiatric Nursing DIMHANS Dharwad, India
2Dhanush institute of Nursing Sciences Bagaklot, India
3Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital, India
4Department of Management Studies, Karnataka Arts College, India
5Civil Engineering Student, MS Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences, India
6Assistant Professor, RL Law College, India
7Department of Police, India
Submission: February 25, 2018; Published: June 27, 2018
*Corresponding author:Susheelkumar V Ronad, Department of Psychiatric Nursing DIMHANS Dharwad, India, Email: email@example.com
How to cite this article: Susheelkumar V Ronad, Chetan S Patali, Shridhar H Gondbal, Kirankumar TC, et al. Child Abuse: Identification and Its
Prevention. Curr Trends Biomedical Eng & Biosci. 2018; 15(5): 555924. DOI: 10.19080/CTBEB.2018.15.555924.
The National Center on Child Abuse reports that 1 out of every 3 girls and 1 out of every 5 boys are victims of some form of abuse by the age of 19. Data also shows that all social, economic, and racial strata are susceptible. Child abuse, especially child sexual abuse, is a difficult subject for everyone. A single allegation of child abuse, whether or not it proves true, can devastate your reputation and destroy your organization. The best way to protect children from abuse, and yourself, your employees and volunteers, and your organization from allegations of child abuse, is to prevent abuse from happening in the first place.
How can you tell if a child has suffered abuse? If Thomas has a bruise on his forehead, does this mean he was beaten up or that he ran into a soccer goal? What about Angela, who has burn marks shaped like gloves on both hands is this a sign of abuse? .
Unfortunately, the signs of child abuse are not crystal clear, and some abused children show no outward signs of abuse. But as a general rule, if you notice a sudden change in a child’s behavior and that behavioral change is sustained over time, its worth looking into. The behavioral change may or may not be the result of abuse. Likewise, physical signs of sexual abuse do not necessarily mean the child was molested, but certainly warrant investigation [2-5].
General guidelines in identifying the signs of childhood stress and different types of child abuse.
i. Childhood stress
ii. Emotional abuse
iii. Physical abuse
iv. Sexual abuse
v. Behavioral indicators
a) Dramatic changes in school performance
b) Overly aggressive or compliant behavior
d) Delinquency or running away from home
e) Sleep disorders
f) Eating disorders
g) Same signs as stress
h) Thumb sucking, head banging, rocking
i) Hysteria, phobias, compulsions, hypochondria
j) Inappropriately adult or infantile behavior
k) Speech disorders
l) Talking about, threatening, or attempting suicide
m) Same signs as stress
n) Conflicting or changing stories about how injury occurred
o) Delayed or inappropriate treatment of the injury
p) Same signs as stress
q) Reluctance to be left alone with a particular person
r) Wearing lots of clothes, especially to bed
s) Creating drawings that show genitals
t) Fear of touch
u) Abuse of animals
v) Excessive or public masturbation
w) Age-inappropriate sexual play (with
themselves, other children, or toys)
vi. Physical indicators
a) Generally no physical indicators
b) Generally no physical indicators
c) Burns, bruises, or cut in unusual areas, such
as the soles of feet, palms of hands, back, abdomen, face,
neck, back of arms
d) Multiple burns, bruises, or cuts in various
stages of healing
e) Physical indicators of sexual abuse, if present
at all, tend to be temporary
Just as there is no foolproof way to identify an abused child,
there is no sure way to identify people who abuse children.
Statistically, among abuse cases reported, women are more likely
to neglect and emotionally abuse children, while men are more
likely to physically and sexually abuse children. But adults are not
the only ones who abuse children. Many cases of abuse, especially
sexual abuse, occur when children molest other children [5-7].
Child abusers come in every size, shape, color, age, economic
group, and religion. Often they are people you like and respect
people who you can’t imagine would ever hurt a child. Yet the one
common characteristic of child abusers is that they are generally
under stress and cannot cope with that stress in an acceptable
The best way to protect children from abuse is to prevent
abuse from happening in the first place. You can’t predict when
child abuse will happen, but with careful planning and hiring
practices, you can make it more difficult for abuse to occur.
Preventing child abuse starts by thoroughly screening your
organization’s job applicants and volunteers before you allow
them to work with you. At a minimum, you should
1. Have the applicant complete a formal, written, job
2. Conduct a face-to-face interview with the applicant.
3. Check at least three references
4. Check with past employers and volunteer organizations.
5. Check your state’s sex-offender registries (available in
many states on the Internet).
6. Check your state’s criminal records.
Note: If the applicant has recently moved to your state, also
check the records of states in which they have previously resided.
If the applicant will be left unsupervised with a child for long
periods of time, you should also conduct a comprehensive, national
background check, which includes an FBI fingerprints check. This
can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months a complete set of
good, readable fingerprints speeds the process considerably.
Bear in mind that many child abusers have no previous criminal
record. Because of this, the face-to-face interview and reference
checks are among the best tools to evaluate a potential employee
During the interview, you want to find out how the applicant
feels about and relates to children. Be wary of applicants who
want to save the world, idealize children and childhood, think
adults should relate to children as peers, or want to spend a lot
of time alone with children. To find the best fit for each position,
ask every applicant the same questions and keep a record of their
responses. Ask open-ended questions, such as:
1. How would you discipline a child who misbehaves?
2. Why are you interested in this position?
3. What kind of supervisory environment do you prefer?
4. Checking references
A managerial-level employee should check every applicant’s
references. Don’t rely on references from friends and former coworkers
ask the applicant to provide the names of people who
have directly supervised and observed the applicant at work. In
addition to administrative questions (when did they work for
you, why did they leave, what was their position), ask open-ended
questions like these:
1. What skills do they have in working with young children?
2. Do they have realistic expectations for children’s
3. How do they handle frustration or criticism on the job?
4. Have you seen them discipline a child? What did they
5. How do they communicate with parents?
6. Have there been any complaints about their care of
7. Would you rehire them to work with young children?
8. Do you feel there are any problems or conditions (such
as alcohol or drug abuse, criminal activity, or history of
mistreating children) that would endanger children placed in
their care or interfere with their ability to do the job?
Depending on your organization’s mission, the fact that an
applicant has a criminal history may not necessarily disqualify
her from working with you. For example, if your organization
employs former offenders to mentor at-risk youth, you will allow
applicants with certain types of criminal convictions to work in
your organization. You decide what’s right for your organization
and how much risk you are willing to take. As a common-sense
rule, you should never employ someone who has been convicted of
physically or sexually abusing children or any other crime against
children. You would also screen out applicants with a history of
violent or sexually exploitative behavior.
You should also take certain factors and circumstances into
account, such as how recently they committed the offense, how
old they were at the time of the offense, what special conditions
may have led up to the offense (peer pressure, joining a gang out
of fear), and the probability they will continue the same type of
It’s imperative that your staff understands what conduct is
appropriate and what is inappropriate. Common sense dictates
that any activity that is even the slightest bit sexual in nature is
inappropriate. Inappropriate conduct includes jokes, comments,
kissing, and touching. It’s also essential to train your staff to
recognize and report suspected abuse.
You can add abuse education to your existing safety training
programs or hire outside resources to conduct the training.
Children are often reluctant to report abuse because they fear no
one will believe them, blame them for the abuse, were threatened
or bribed to keep silent, are embarrassed or ashamed, or are
worried that they will get themselves or a loved one into trouble.
It’s important to tell children that:
1. No one has the right to hurt them or touch them
2. They can say “no” to requests that make them
uncomfortable, even if the request is from a family member or
3. They must tell a trusted adult about any form of abuse
and that they will not be punished for telling.
Your facility, when it is properly designed and used, can make
it difficult for a potential abuser to mistreat the children in your
care. Some guidelines follow.
Don’t let visitors, including relatives of staff members and
volunteers, wander around the facility unsupervised.
1. Have all visitors sign in, including parents.
2. Lock doors to closets, rooms, and other areas when they
are not in use.
3. Install and maintain bright lights in hallways, walkways,
and parking areas.
4. Don’t allow digital cameras in changing areas and
5. Prune trees and shrubs to prevent potential abusers
from hiding behind them and attacking a child.
6. Provide separate shower facilities or schedule different
shower times for staff and children.
7. Design toilet facilities for young children that provide
privacy for children and permit observation of adult helpers.
Some facilities use child-sized stalls that shield the child but
not the adult.
You must investigate and report each incident of suspected
child abuse as quickly as possible. While the incident is under investigation, or it is critical to prevent all contact between the
child and the alleged abuser.
When a staff member or child reports abuse, it’s essential
not to panic. You want to reassure the child that he or she isn’t to
blame for the abuse, and that it won’t happen again. You also need
to find out what happened. The best way to do this is by asking
open-ended questions, which can’t be answered by a “yes” or “no.”
Take the child to a quiet place that is within view of other adults
and ask questions such as “Tell me what happened,” or “Where
Note: Do not examine the child or conduct a detailed
investigation. This is best left to child protective services and
In most states, childcare workers are legally required to
report any incident of suspected child abuse. The authorities
assume your report is made in good faith, so even if the report
proves false, you will not be held civilly or criminally responsible
for making it. Because it is so important to quickly and accurately
report suspected abuse, many organization directors prepare
these reports themselves, rather than delegate this responsibility
to other staff members.
Note: You should report all incidents of suspected child abuse,
even if you receive an anonymous letter or phone call reporting
abuse. Too many children have been hurt because no one followed
up on an anonymous tip.
Where are incidents reported?
Each state has specific agencies that receive and investigate
reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. Typically, you must
report incidents to child protective services within a Department
of Social Services, Department of Human Resources, or Division of
Family and Children’s Services. In some states, police departments
also may receive reports.
It’s helpful to establish a relationship with child protective
services and other agencies before an incident happens. Many
organizations set up a memorandum of understanding that
incorporates the legal requirements and your organization’s
internal reporting procedures. Both you and the agency director
sign the memorandum and each organization keeps a copy on file.
What is the internal reporting procedure?
In addition to legally required reports of child abuse, your
organization should have an internal reporting procedure. At a
minimum, you should
1. Notify your organization’s legal counsel.
2. Notify your organization’s insurance provider.
3. Write a report detailing the suspected incident
If someone in your organization is accused of child abuse,
managing the media is imperative. The vast majority of news
people are sensitive and interested in getting the facts; however,
the media can easily paint a negative picture of your organization
if you give them the tools to do so. You can prevent negative media
coverage by having a media crisis management plan in place
before an incident occurs.
The spokesperson’s primary responsibility is to present your
organization’s message to the media. The spokesperson need not
be the director, but should have both credibility and knowledge of
your organization. All media questions and reporters should be
directed to the spokesperson; other members of your staff should
not talk to the media without speaking with the spokesperson first.
The spokesperson you choose should have previous experience
with the media and with giving interviews.