Child Abuse Prevention Service

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If you believe a child is in immediate danger call 000. You can call CAPS on 1800 688 009 for further information about recognising child abuse. Please view our disclaimer before considering this information.

Any non-accidental injury to a child, including shaking and excessive discipline.

Child Indicators

  • Unexplained physical injuries
  • Premature loss of teeth
  • Verbally reports abuse
  • Wary of adult contacts
  • Consistent anger, aggression, hyperactivity
  • Behavioural extremes
  • Role reversal
  • Developmental lags
  • Appears frightened of carer
  • Apprehensive when other children cry
  • Wears clothes to cover injuries
  • Seeks affection from any adult
  • Non-expression of his/her needs
  • Non-communicative

Carer Indicators

  • Seems unconcerned about child
  • Seems anxious and overwhelmed by their child’s needs
  • Takes a long time to get medical care for child
  • Gives inadequate explanation for the child’s injury
  • Takes child to a different doctor for each injury
  • Substance abuser
  • Disciplines the child too harshly
  • Describes child in a consistently negative manner
  • Has poor impulse control

When someone involves a child in a sexual activity by using their power over them or taking advantage of their trust.

Child Indicators

  • Difficulty in walking or sitting
  • Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
  • Pain or itching in genital area
  • Bruises or bleeding in external genitalia
  • Venereal disease (especially in pre-teens)
  • Pregnancy
  • Foreign matter in bladder, rectum or urethra
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Aggressive, overt sexual behaviour
  • Drawing pictures of people with genitals
  • Cruelty to animals without physiological basis
  • Pre-mature knowledge of explicit sexual acts
  • Sleep disorders
  • Taking frequent baths
  • Starting fires
  • Poor peer relationships
  • Wary of physical contact, especially with an adult

Carer Indicators

  • Very protective or jealous of child
  • Extremely protective of family privacy
  • Encourages child to engage in prostitution
  • Substance abuser
  • Is geographically isolated
  • Lacks social/emotional contacts outside the family
  • Has low self-esteem

The chronic failure to provide a child with the basic necessities for his or her proper growth and development.

Child Indicators

  • Consistent hunger & poor hygiene.
  • Inappropriate dress.
  • Chronically unclean
  • Consistent lack of supervision.
  • Unattended physical / medical/dental needs.
  • Often tired or listless
  • Abandonment
  • Underweight
  • Developmental lags
  • Bald spots on an infant’s head
  • Begging or stealing food
  • Extended stays in school
  • Early arrival/late departures at school
  • Attendance at school infrequent
  • Substance abuser
  • States there is no parent or carer

Carer Indicators

  • Has diagnosed chaotic, upsetting home life
  • Is apathetic, feels nothing will change
  • Is isolated from friends, relatives, neighbours
  • Cannot be found
  • Expects too much of a child
  • Substance Abuser
  • Exposes child to unsafe living conditions

Behaviour that destroys the confidence of a child resulting in emotional deprivation or trauma, including exposure to domestic violence, intimidation and withholding affection.

Child Indicators

  • Speech disorders
  • Lags in physical development
  • Failure to thrive
  • Attempted suicide
  • Habit disorders (sucking, biting, rocking etc)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty forming positive relationships
  • Elimination problems
  • Inability to trust
  • Neurotic Traits
  • Behavioural extremes
  • Overly adaptive behaviour
  • Apathetic
  • Withdrawal
  • Reports emotional maltreatment

Carer Indicators

  • Treat children in family unequally
  • Does not appear to care much about the child’s problems
  • Blames or belittles the child
  • Is cold and rejecting
  • Withholds love
  • Finds nothing good or attractive in the child