How do you know when there's child abuse?

  1. I'm starting to wonder about one of my neighbor's kids. I've done a search to find out what are the typical symptoms of child abuse. What I've read, it hits about 50-50. Some things apply, but some don't. Of course, I wouldn't expect to see ALL signs and symptoms, but I have no idea what "normal" behavior is for a kid! It's been a long time since I've had a peds case. And, I don't have any kids. Can anyone give me some clues here? I don't want to call DFS quite yet, especially when I feel so stupid about children!
  2. Visit Youda profile page

    About Youda

    Joined: Nov '00; Posts: 931; Likes: 18


  3. by   mintyRN
    I say follow your gut. We nurses have very good intuition. Make the call and leave it to protective services to decide whether or not the children are in danger.
  4. by   pollux
    I agree If you wait too long these children may have permanent psychological wounds and believe me it is better to be wrong then to have regrets later. Youth protection is unfortunately not always capable to follow trough all the cases submitted to them, but they will evaluate and if they feel there is potentiel life treatning issues they will be right in. Good luck
  5. by   researchrabbit
    If there's the least suspicion, report it (there are anonymous hotlines in most states).
  6. by   nurs4kids
    If you suspect, report. Actually, in my state (and I assume in all) as a nurse, you are REQUIRED to report suspicious abuse.
    You didn't say the age of the child..don't know what info you're wanting. I would advise to report, but if you're still hesitant to report, then let us know what your suspicions are..maybe we can help you. I deal with them on a daily basis, and let me tell you...
    it's much better to report and be wrong than to not report and be right..
    someone HAS to protect these kids...bless their hearts
  7. by   Youda
    Yeah, that's what I thought everyone would say. That's what I'd tell me to do, too, if it wasn't me we were talking about!

    nurs4kids, what I'm seeing that is the most disturbing is cruelty to animals, far past the age when you could just shrug it off as too little to know better. Kicking a cat. Hitting a cat on the head with a rock. Then, there's a speech impediment, more like still talking "baby talk" at about age 5-6. Don't kids usually start talking clearer by that age? No hearing problems, I sorta already "tested" for that by talking quietly behind him and he heard me just fine. No visible bruising. But, I've seen the wife smack and kick the husband a few times, so makes me think it's happening to the kids, too.

    Aw heck! As I write this, I realize what I'm writing, and it just makes me sick at the heart. I'm gonna have to do something.
  8. by   live4today
    Yep are definitely going to have to do something, soooo....make that call.......I've been abused as a child......I say call.......better safe than sorry for that child. You may be his only way out of an abusive situation. Bless you for caring and reporting your suspicions. It's our job as nurses to report things like this.....and social services job to carry out the investigation into the child's home. ((((((((((to that child)))))) and all children suffering abuse right this very minute hoping someone will notice and rescue them from the abuse. :kiss

    Nighty night!
  9. by   frankie
    For online info r/e child abuse, I know 2 great sites, and one less great - good site. First. look up Dave Pelzer - he has 4 sites - one for each book he has written (the first one is "A Child Called It". The second site - has an excellent list of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse descriptions. The last site is I have used these sites myself. If you have the suspicion, you state law probably requires you to report. If you are concerned about reporting, Call child protection in the presence of a corroborating person, preferablly your family attorney. Good Luck - frankie
  10. by   UK2USA
    If you have a suspicion then follow it up. An anonymous report has got to be better than the possibility of seeing a body bag carried out of the house - all because you weren't sure.
    It makes me really angry when I see patients come into my PICU with the most awful injuries, knowing that neighbours and relatives could have prevented such pain.
  11. by   uk_nurse
    Report is def the answer. God forbid but if anything happened to those children and you know you could have prevented it. you will feel so bad im sure. So go with your gut instinct and report