& Recognizing the Signs
Reporting Abuse and Neglect
If a child’s life is in danger, you should call 911 immediately. To report any type of abuse, including child abuse or elder abuse, please call the 24/7 statewide hotline:
Suspicion is enough to call the hotline – you don’t have to have evidence or proof to make a call. Hotline screeners are trained to help guide you through the process.
We know it takes courage to report abuse. You may be a child’s only hope.
Signs of Child Abuse
CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR
Abuse can lead to many changes in behavior. Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive.
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 or exhibit an unusual fear of a familiar person or place.
CHANGES IN SCHOOL PERFORMANCE & 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.
CHANGES IN SLEEPING
Abused children may have frequent nightmares or have difficulty falling asleep, and as a result, may appear tired or fatigued.
INAPPROPRIATE SEXUAL BEHAVIORS
Children who have been sexually abused may exhibit overly sexualized behavior or use explicit sexual language and may exhibit symptoms of a genital infection.
RETURNING TO EARLIER BEHAVIORS
Abused children may display behaviors shown at earlier ages, such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, fear of the dark or fear of strangers. For some children, even loss of acquired language or memory problems may be an issue.
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.
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.
Young people who are being abused may engage in high-risk activities such as using drugs or alcohol or carrying a weapon.
Children who have been physically abused may exhibit unexplained burns or bruises in the shape of objects. You may also hear unconvincing explanations of a child’s injuries.
If a Child Discloses Abuse or Neglect
What to do:
Allow the child to use his/her own words to describe the incident
Assure the child they are not to blame for what happened
Treat the child normally
Take care of the child’s emotional needs
Listen and take notes
Allow the child to talk about the incident if they bring it up
Write down concerns and questions for Child Protective Services, police officers, and therapists
Love and support the child
Call the child abuse hotline and make a report: 855-503-SAFE (7233)
What not to do:
Use your language to help the child describe what happened
Try to interview or investigate
Express fear, anger, or anxiety
Initiate conversation about the incident
Let personal feelings influence the child
Reward child for giving information
Please refer to the following website for more information on reporting child abuse or neglect in the state of Oregon: Oregon Department of Human Services