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Know the Signs

Most children are too scared or too ashamed to disclose their abuse, especially when it’s sexual in nature.  In fact, it’s estimated only 10% of child victims ever come forward on their own. You can help by watching for changes in a child’s behaviors or other indicative signs. If you have reason to suspect a child has been abused or neglected, New Hampshire law requires you to report what you know to the Division for Children Youth & Families without delay. If you’re unsure of what to do, contact us or get help from the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Physical symptoms:

  • Bruises, welts, burns that cannot be sufficiently explained
  • Injuries where children don’t usually get hurt (the back, neck, back of legs, face)
  • Repeated injuries
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Nausea/upset stomach
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vaginal infections
  • Vomiting or gagging

Emotional symptoms:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Flashbacks
  • Difficulty concentrating

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Sleep pattern changes
  • Night mares or night terrors
  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Sex play inappropriate for child’s age
  • Promiscuity
  • Self-abuse
  • Running away from home
  • Isolation or detachment from others
  • Angry outbursts
  • Sex talk inappropriate for child’s age
  • Avoidance of school, friends