Understanding the signs and symptoms of child abuse

By  | 

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- While a Grand Junction man faces 43 counts of felony sex crime charges against children, many in the community are wondering what they can do to prevent things like this from happening.

Child advocates say there are many different signs and symptoms of child abuse, that people should be aware of.

“"It's critical that people gets involved, pay attention, and report abuse,” Janet Rowland said, with the Court Appointed Special Advocates organization.

CASA helps to give child abuse victims a voice in the courtroom.

Depending on the type of abuse or who the perpetrator is, there are symptoms and signs that something just isn't right. Neglect, is a primary type of child abuse.

“Neglect is going to be things like they don't have warm clothes on in the winter, or they don't have shoes,” Rowland said.

Research shows around 90 percent of child abuse victims, know their abuser. While there may be no physical signs of sexual abuse, there are emotional changes you can pick up on.

“You may see a child shy away from an individual, perhaps that's the person abusing them, or maybe they're just uncomfortable around men in general,” Rowland said. “Those are some of the signs to look for."

If a child is abused by a stranger, experts say it’s less about symptoms, but instead talking to your kids about abuse.

“It’s more about letting your child know in advance the important thing is about not talking to strangers and that a lot of the time it's the nice looking ones that can hurt you,” Rowland said.

Advocates say noticing abuse early on, can change a victim’s path. Rowland tells us that over 80 percent of people in our prisons have a history of child neglect or abuse.

"The majority of kids, who are abused don't go to prison,” she explained. “But the majority of people in prison were abused.”

Advocates ask that if you see or feel something, say something.

“If we could intervene sooner or if we could stop the abuse when they are 2 or 3 instead of when they are 8, 10 or 14, I think we would have much better outcomes for those children,” Rowland said.

If you suspect any type of child abuse, you are asked to call the Mesa County Child Prevention Hotline at 970-242-1211.