Understanding Child's Needs

How Children React to Abuse

The Emotions & Reactions of Abuse

Each child may react differently but may show some of these emotions or thoughts:
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Fear of punishment or retaliation
  • Feeling alone
  • Guilt
  • Hurt
  • Loss of love from significant other
  • Relief that the "secret" is known
  • Shame or humiliation
  • Worry
These emotional and physical symptoms are natural, and may occur in combination. For some children, these may occur time and time again.

Signs of Abuse

  • Changes in behavior
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Changes in school performance and attendance
  • Fear of going home
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviors
  • Lack of personal hygiene or care
  • Returning to earlier behaviors
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Unexplained injuries

The Physical & Behavioral Symptoms

A child may also experience some of these symptoms as a result of abuse:
  • Aggressiveness
  • Anger
  • Attention-seeking
  • Avoidance of school/friends
  • Bed wetting
  • Change in school performance
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Crying
  • Fears and phobias
  • Lying
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea/upset stomach
  • Nightmares
  • Physical complaints
  • Rebelliousness
  • Running away
  • Sexually inappropriate behavior
  • Substance abuse
  • Withdrawal from others