Preventing, detecting child abuse is everybody's responsibility

We as parents are the only ones who can stand between our children and any type of abuse.

Three types of child abuse occur on a regular basis, and all three types can occur anywhere, in any family, no matter their outward appearances, or wealth.  Most abuse is perpetrated by someone close to the child; however, this is not limited to the immediate family. 

Abusers can include babysitters, neighbors, and even, teachers and church leaders.  We’ve all heard the stories, and we don’t want to believe that anyone we know would do such a thing, but it happens.  Emotional abuse, neglect, and physical abuse are all types of abuse that affect our society, and, as much as we would like to believe otherwise, it can affect our children even if they don’t experience it in the home.  It also affects our children’s friends much more often than we’d like to think.

Most often, the abuser is a parent, relative or other caretaker such as a baby sitter; however, abusers can also be others involved in the child’s life, at school, in church, in sports, or in other extra-curricular activities.  The best thing we as parents can do is try to keep our children safe.

The big question then is what we as parents can do to prevent child abuse.  The first thing we must do is carefully check the background and qualifications of anyone who will be watching over your children, whether it is a babysitter, a school, or even a relative.  Abuse can happen anywhere!  The second thing we can do to help prevent child abuse is to know the signs of abuse that victims often demonstrate.

Emotional Abuse:

•    Excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong.
•    Shows extremes in behavior (extremely compliant or extremely demanding; extremely passive or extremely aggressive).
•    Doesn’t seem to be attached to the parent or caregiver.
•    Acts either inappropriately adult (taking care of other children) or inappropriately infantile (rocking, thumb-sucking, throwing tantrums).

Physical Abuse:

•    Frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts.
•    Is always watchful and “on alert,” as if waiting for something bad to happen.
•    Injuries appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt.
•    Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home.
•    Wears inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries, such as long-sleeved shirts on hot days.


•    Clothes are ill-fitting, filthy, or inappropriate for the weather.
•    Hygiene is consistently bad (unbathed, matted and unwashed hair, noticeable body odor).
•    Untreated illnesses and physical injuries.
•    Frequently unsupervised or left alone or allowed to play in unsafe situations and environments.
•    Frequently late or missing from school.

Sexual abuse:

•    Trouble walking or sitting.
•    Displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age, or even seductive behavior.
•    Makes strong efforts to avoid a specific person, without an obvious reason.
•    Doesn’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities.
•    An STD or pregnancy, especially under the age of 14.
•    Runs away from home. (


Contact Denton County Sheriff Will Travis at 940-349-1700.


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