Recognize the warning signs. The behavior of children may signal abuse or neglect long before any change in physical appearance.

Abused children may appear:

  • Nervous around adults or afraid of certain adults
  • Reluctant to go home (may come to school early or stay late)
  • Passive and/or withdrawn
  • Aggressive and/or disruptive
  • Frequently tired (may complain of nightmares or not sleeping well)
  • Fearful and anxious
  • Physically unkempt or lacking in proper hygiene
  • To have frequent accidents beyond the age of typically potty trained
  • Lacking in appetite or have an abnormally large appetite
  • Significantly less developed in their language skills than their peers

Child abuse and neglect occur in all segments of our society, but the risk is greater in isolated families and those where parents have problems with drugs or alcohol.

Report suspected abuse or neglect. If you suspect abuse or neglect is occurring, report it – and keep reporting it – until something is done.

To talk confidentially with someone about your options, call our 24/7 SAFEline at 512.267.SAFE (7233), text us at 737.888.7233 or chat with us at No pressure – just information. Everything is confidential and free of charge at SAFE.