What is Child Abuse?

Child abuse is an act resulting in serious physical or emotional harm, exploitation or death. Child abuse includes physical, emotional, sexual and neglect.

The staff at The Center for Family Justice is dedicated to bringing hope and healing to all child victims and their families. We provide crisis intervention, conduct forensic interviews and offer emotional support and counseling to children who are victims of sexual,  physical and domestic violence, including cases where the children witnessed abuse. The Center for Family Justice is an accredited Child Advocacy Center, and the operating agency of the Multidisciplinary Investigative Team (MDT) of Greater Bridgeport.

What is child sexual abuse?

Sexual assault is any inappropriate touching, showing pornography, sex and exposing body parts to the child for the sexual stimulation of the adult. Although in many cases there will be no outward signs of the abuse, the child often has poor relationships with peers and suffers from low self-esteem; their grades may drop; they show an unusual interest in sex for a child of their age; they might run away or become delinquent; and older children may use drugs and alcohol or become sexually active, become depressed or develop eating disorders.

What are the signs of child sexual abuse?

Physical signs of child sexual abuse include:

  • Sexually transmitted disease;
  • Trauma to the mouth;
  • Stained or bloody underwear or bruises, bleeding or discharge in the genital area;
  • Swelling, itching or pain in the genital area;
  • Difficulty walking, sitting or urinating;
  • Chronic sore throat, stomach upset, headaches.

Domestic violence and children

Home should be a safe place, but for far too many children it is not because of domestic violence. Sometimes children become the victims of domestic violence; other times they are emotionally scarred because they witness a caretaker’s abuse.

Studies have proven that exposure to long-term violence in the home, whether it is directed at the child or not, has a long-lasting affect on the child. These children are also at greater risk of becoming victims of neglect as children and abuse as they mature.

What are the signs of domestic child abuse?

Physical signs of domestically abused children:

  • Frequent injuries, often described as an accident;
  • Absences from school;
  • Child never invites friends home;
  • Excessive fear;
  • Depression, low self-esteem, frequent crying.

What is physical abuse?

Physical abuse is any injury suffered by a child at the hands of another person. Sometimes you can see the injury; often you cannot.

Physical abuse often causes emotional wounds as well, which can be manifested in the child as aggressive behavior or extreme shyness. The child might also be afraid to go home, or show fear of their parents or other adults.

What are the signs of physical abuse?

Physical signs of physical abuse include:

  • Injuries on the child’s body in the shape of an object, such as a strap or belt buckle;
  • Bruises or burns on the child’s body;
  • Fractures;
  • A delay between the time of injury and medical treatment.

What is emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse damages a child’s emotional, psychological and social development and sense of self worth. Physically or sexually abused children often suffer from emotionally abuse. Emotional abuse also happens with constant criticism, threats, withholding affection and negligence.

Physical signs of emotional abuse include:

  • Low self-esteem;
  • Severe depression;
  • Aggression;
  • Withdrawal;
  • Severe anxiety.

Hope Starts Here!

Let The Center for Family Justice become your lifeline.

Please call us today at 203-334-6154
Or 24/7 on a hotline:

Domestic violence: 203-384-9559
Sexual assault: 203-333-2233
Vedas (Spanish): 888-568-8332

Serving victims and raising awareness about domestic and sexual violence in Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull in Fairfield County