Signs of Abuse
Recognizing a child in trouble and in need of protection often goes beyond words. Though the signs of abuse are often visual, there may also be a feeling that something isn’t quite right. Child abuse can be hard to distinguish, but we hope that everyone takes the responsibility to pay attention to the children in their community and looks out for their best interest.
If you suspect that a child is in trouble, please help by calling Child Protective Services at (714) 940-1000 or (800) 422-4453. You can choose to remain anonymous if you prefer.
Some possible signs of child abuse and neglect are:
- Unexplained injuries. Visible signs of physical abuse may include unexplained burns or bruises in the shape of objects. You may also hear unconvincing explanations of a child’s injuries.
- Changes in behavior. Abuse can lead to many changes in a child’s behavior. Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive.
- Returning to earlier behaviors. Abused children may display behaviors shown at earlier ages, such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, fear of the dark or strangers. For some children, even loss of acquired language or memory problems may be an issue.
- Fear of going home. Abused children may express apprehension or anxiety about leaving school or about going places with the person who is abusing them.
- Changes in eating. The stress, fear and anxiety caused by abuse can lead to changes in a child’s eating behaviors, which may result in weight gain or weight loss.
- Changes in sleeping. Abused children may have frequent nightmares or have difficulty falling asleep, and as a result may appear tired or fatigued.
- Changes in school performance and attendance. Abused children may have difficulty concentrating in school or have excessive absences, sometimes due to adults trying to hide the children’s injuries from authorities.
- Lack of personal care or hygiene. Abused and neglected children may appear uncared for. They may present as consistently dirty and have severe body odor, or they may lack sufficient clothing for the weather.
- Risk-taking behaviors. Young people who are being abused may engage in high-risk activities such as using drugs or alcohol or carrying a weapon.
- Inappropriate sexual behaviors. Children who have been sexually abused may exhibit overly sexualized behavior or use explicit sexual language.
Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Orange County
The maltreatment of children has devastating, long-term, and generational consequences. It results in developmental and behavioral problems, social and cognitive disturbances, and psychological dysfunction. It makes it infinitely more difficult for children to realize their full potential and has a destructive effect on the community and society as a whole. This is why it is incredibly vital for us as individuals and as a community to encourage efforts and programs on child abuse prevention and treatment. Orange County, like many other places across the country, has been suffering from child abuse and its consequences for generations and it is up to us all to turn the tide.
Become a Volunteer at the Priority Center
For 35 years, the Priority Center, formerly the Child Abuse Prevention Center has been directly serving the needs of children at-risk of abuse, as well as families in crisis, providing child abuse prevention programs that seek to eliminate risk factors and cultivate instead the conditions that positively impact a child’s and a family’s well-being. If you want to take part in efforts towards preventing child abuse in Orange County, you can volunteer your time and/or resources, help support our campaigns and events, and help spread the word about the ways people can support programs on child abuse prevention and treatment. Orange County needs you.
Orange County Child Abuse
The number of incidences of Orange County child abuse is high with over 38,000 reports in 2010 alone – and that’s only the cases that have been reported. There are many other occurrences of Orange County child abuse that have been unreported or misreported through the years and there are surely adults in the community today who are victims of child abuse and still cannot speak out about the maltreatment that they experienced.
Child abuse is destructive and insidious and its consequences affect not only the child, but also the community and, more often than not, the child victim’s own future children. The statistics for victims of child abuse present a bleak picture: in one study, for example, 80 percent of 21-year-olds who were victims of child abuse were found to have met the diagnostic criteria for at least one psychological disorder. Another study showed that abused and neglected children tended to perform poorly in school and suffered more cognitive difficulties than the general population. All children deserve the chance to grow up in a safe and nurturing home environment. Denying them that right, whether through neglect and/or physical, sexual or emotional abuse, will often have tragic consequences.
If you want to help in child abuse prevention and treatment-Orange County, the help you extend will benefit not just one child, but generations of children. Help break the cycle of abuse today –contact us for more information.
Protecting Children from Abuse
Every child has the right to grow up in an environment that’s safe, healthy and nurturing, but the sad fact is that almost five children in this country die every day due to child abuse. The maltreatment of children is prevalent across cultural groups and ethnicities and throughout every level of society. It is one of our society’s greatest ills and protecting children from abuse should be of paramount importance to every community.
In Orange County, child abuse reports number in the tens of thousands every year. If you want to help reduce this alarming number and to change a child’s life for the better, you can volunteer your time, energy and resources to programs targeted towards child abuse prevention and treatment in Orange County. Protecting children from abuse is the responsibility not only of government entities, but more importantly, of the members of a community.
At the Priority Center, formerly the Child Abuse Prevention Center, we have been helping at-risk children from becoming victims of child abuse for almost 30 years. Through our various programs, we aim to help families break the generational cycle of abuse. Many of those who abuse children were once child victims themselves. With your help we can break this cycle and foster the growth of stronger, more nurturing families and communities.
Prevalence of Child Abuse
- Child abuse transcends all ethnicities, cultures, religions, socio-economic and education levels.
- 78% of victims of child abuse related fatalities were 1 to 3 years old; 3/4 of deaths were caused by one or more parent(s).
- Every year an estimated 900,000 children in the United States are victims of maltreatment, 18,000 are permanently disabled.
- Head trauma is the leading cause of child abuse death among babies. The 100% preventable Shaken Baby Syndrome is a major cause of death, where 25% of victims die and the majority of survivors suffer brain damage.
- Child abuse is reported every 10 seconds.
- Almost five children die every day as a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of four.
- About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse.
- More than 90% of abusers are people children know, love, or trust.
- 79% of adults perpetrating against children are their parents.
- 57% of children will be victims of some form of physical assault during their lifetime.
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury for women ages 15 to 44.
- 21% of women report being raped or physically or sexually assaulted in her life.
- Domestic violence may be the single major precursor to child abuse and neglect fatalities in the United States, according to the U.S. Advisory Board.
Child Sexual Abuse
- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.
- Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children ages 17 and under.
- 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68% are abused by their family members
- Over 30% of victims never disclose the experience to others.
- A typical child sex offender molests an average of 117 children.
- 20% of child sexual abuse victims are under the age of 8.
- Sexual abuse is commonly associated with other family problems, such as parental alcoholism, parental rejection, and parental marital conflict.
- Although child sexual abuse is reported almost 90,000 times a year, the numbers of unreported abuse is far greater because the children are afraid to tell anyone what had happened.
- High rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, dissociative disorders, interpersonal dysfunction, sexual problems and suicidal ideation have all been identified to varying degrees among men and women who survive child sexual abuse.
- It is estimated that there are 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in America today.
- 80% of young adults who had been abused met the diagnostic criteria for at least 1 psychiatric disorder at the age of 21 (including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, & post-traumatic stress disorder).
- Society as a whole bears the costs of child abuse and neglect; the annual direct and indirect costs of child abuse and neglect is estimated at $103.8 billion dollars.
- Children who experience child abuse and neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit violent crimes.