Child Maltreatment

There are four commonly recognized forms of child maltreatment—physical abuse, neglect, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse. The definitions of these types of child maltreatment may vary depending on the State or the locality in which the first responder works. First responders should become familiar with the definitions that apply in their jurisdictions. Additionally, the signs of child maltreatment listed here do not indicate absolutely that child maltreatment has occurred.

maltreatmentThey are meant to act as general guidelines for identifying the possibility of each type of maltreatment. Actual child maltreatment, as well as the perpetrator's identity, can be determined only after a thorough response and investigation.

Children who possibly are maltreated may:

  • Be aggressive, oppositional, or defiant
  • Cower or demonstrate a fear of adults
  • Act out, displaying aggressive or disruptive behavior
  • Be destructive to self or others
  • Come to school too early or not want to leave school, indicating a possible fear of being at home
  • Show fearlessness or extreme risk-taking
  • Be described as "accident prone"
  • Cheat, steal, or lie (may be related to too high expectations at home)
  • Be a low achiever
  • Be unable to form good peer relationships
  • Wear clothing that covers the body and may be inappropriate in warmer months, such as wearing a turtleneck sweater in the summer (Be aware that this may possibly be a cultural issue instead.)
  • Show regressive or less mature behavior
  • Dislike or shrink away from physical contact (e.g., may not tolerate physical praise, such as a pat on the back).

Taylor Pyles

Taylor Pyles is a child abuse survivor and the founder of The Blue Ribbon Project. He has been a police officer with Annapolis Police Department for over a decade and is assigned as a Detective in the Criminal Investigations Section.  When not working, you'll find him spending time with his family and out enjoying the countryside on two wheels. 

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