Child abuse is terrible ordeal. The state of Texas has avenues in place for reporting child abuse, but many people often ignore the signs.
Under Texas law, there is an obligation to report child abuse or elder abuse. That means that if you believe someone is being abused, you have to report it to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Failure to report child abuse could result in a misdemeanor charge, or even a felony.
How do you know that someone is a victim of child abuse?
Here are the Top 10 signs of child abuse, according to SafeHorizon.org:
- Unexplained injuries. While children tend to be brutally honest, they still might be afraid to "out" an abuser. If your gut tells you that a child's (or adult's) explanation of a child's injury is fishy, go with your gut.
- Behavioral changes. According to Safe Horizons, an abused child will come off as scared, have anxiety, be withdrawn or even suffer from depression.
- Fear of going home. If you notice that a child is afraid to go home or hesitates to go home, then it may be a sign the child is being abused at home.
- Change in school performance. Teachers are often in the best position to be able to see the daily changes in an abused child. One of these changes is in school performance. When a student's grades unexpectedly plummet, it could be a warning sign that things aren't right at home. The same can be said for numerous unexplained absences.
- Lack of personal hygiene. Abused or neglected children sometimes exhibit a lack of personal hygiene.
- Return to younger behavior. You might notice a child regressing in behavior. This may include bed-wetting, stranger anxiety or even loss of language skills.
- Nightmares or trouble falling asleep.
- Changes in eating.
- Risk-taking. Older children who are abused might start abusing drugs.
- Inappropriate sexual behaviors. Be on the lookout for overly sexualized behavior or the use of explicit language as these could be signs.
To report a case of suspected child abuse, call the Texas child abuse hotline toll-free at (800) 252-5400.