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Characteristics of Abused Childr



Characteristics of Abused Children

   Under 2 Years of age

  • Respond to loud stimuli with increased fear (crying)

  • Developmental delays (slower to walk, crawl, talk, etc.)

  • Nightmares

   2-5 Years

  • Regressive behavior (lose toileting skills, baby talk, more clingy, revert to using a bottle)

  • Nightmares

  • Acting out domestic violence by hitting playmates, siblings, or parents

  • Increased sibling violence

  • Cruelty to animals

  • Developmental delays (slower to learn ABC’s, read, etc.)

  • Decreased playfulness and spontaneity

  • Feel responsible for the violence

  • Increased dependency on primary care giver

   6-12 Years

  • Increased problems at school

  • Getting into trouble (lying, stealing, cheating, etc.)

  • Often viewed by others by having attention problems or learning disabilities

  • May withdraw and become reclusive

  • May take on role of “family hero” or caretaker

  • Increased anger directed at victim of violence (it is unsafe to direct anger at the abuser)

  • Develop inflated sense of responsibility

  • Learn to disrespect the victim of violence (learn that people hit those they love)

  • Develop emotional problems such as depression

   13-18 Years

  • Aggressive behavior (violence serves to control others and solve problems

  • Severe behavior and emotional problems (running away, theft, depression, anxiety)

  • Develop rigid sex roles

  • Increased incidents of dating violence

  • Self-destructive behavior (eating disorder, drugs, alcohol)

  • Increased risk for early marriages and/or teen pregnancy (often as an escape from the parents)

  • Increased risk for suicide and homicide

  • Develop poor boundary systems (either too rigid or too weak)

  • Develop a distrust for most authority figures (or all adults)


For more information please contact Someplace Safe, Inc. at (330) 393-3003

or Children Who Witness Violence at (330) 393-3151

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Last modified: 10/29/2012 Please send mail to Admin@someplacesafe.org with questions or comments about this website.