Don't Miss the Signs | UnityPoint Health - Blank Children's
Blank Children's Hospital

Don't Miss the Signs

The signs aren't always obvious.
Protecting children is everyone's responsibility.

Every year in Iowa, thousands of children are subjected to child abuse, which can take the form of physical or sexual abuse, neglect and illegal drug exposure. Many more continue to suffer because the abuse is never reported. It is your responsibility to protect children.

Signs that a teen may be a victim of abuse:

  • Overly aggressive
  • Overly passive or compliant
  • Suicide attempts
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-mutilation
  • Burns, bruises or welts
  • Fractures or dislocation
  • Running away
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Recurring urinary tract infections
  • Pregnancy in a young teen
  • Poor hygiene or inappropriate dress
  • Frequent school absences
  • Eating disorders

Signs that a child may be a victim of abuse:

  • Unusual fearfulness
  • Lack of hygiene or inappropriate dress
  • Frequent injuries
  • Delayed emotional, intellectual or language development
  • Feeding disorders
  • Rocking, self-inflicted pain
  • Sleep disorders, bed-wetting
  • Lack of eye contact, poor socialization
  • Acting out in school
  • Unexplained scars or bruises
  • Malnutrition
  • Many school absences

Signs that an infant may be a victim of abuse:

  • Failure to thrive
  • Dull and inactive
  • Excessively passive
  • Bruises on buttocks, thighs or torso
  • Malnutrition
  • Squeeze or pinch marks
  • Fractures and/ or dislocation
  • Inadequate hygiene
If you suspect a child is being physically or sexually abused or neglected, please call the Iowa Department of Human Services Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-362-2178.

For more information on recognizing abuse and how you can protect children, please go to:

Additional Resources