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Warning Signs of Abuse in Children - By Dr. Kelli Palfy Kelli Palfy

Although there aren’t any tell-tale signs a child is being abused, young children may try to tell adults about abuse in the only ways they know how: by acting out behaviourally!

 If you see one or more of these as persistent signs in a child you know… PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION!

-       Fear of going to bed – some children may fear falling asleep because they are having nightmares about being abused.

-       Falling asleep in class – perhaps they don’t feel safe sleeping at night or at home

-       Re-established bed wetting or a regression in other previously attained developmental milestones

-       Wearing the same clothes or seasonally inappropriate clothes (long sleeves or sunglasses may be used to cover bruises) or other odd behaviours.

-       The class clown - disrupting class may be a means to distract from traumatic memories & learning difficulties that arise because of trauma responses

-       Children with low self-esteem and those who are isolating themselves

-       The odd child that can’t relate to other children - traumatized children act in ways that only make sense when you understand trauma

-       Children bullying or picking on other kids (victims are often angry)

- Children being bullied by others often feel they deserve to be treated poorly, lack boundaries and don't know how to stand up for themselves

-       Children experimenting sexually (re-enacting what’s been done to them)

-       Developing a newly established fear of someone or a strong dislike of someone

They may make comments like:   “I don’t like the games they make me play” ;   “I don’t want to go to daycare" or " Can’t you stay home with me”.  

For more information on this and other important issues associated to childhood sexual abuse: please visit my other website:


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