It’s hard to imagine that someone would intentionally hurt a child, but it unfortunately happens far too often. That’s why it’s so important for the responsible adults in a child’s life to act quickly if they suspect abuse is occurring.
While the process can be challenging, it’s crucial that you know the signs and report your suspicions to the authorities as soon as possible. This guide offers a few key points on how to get a child the help they so desperately need.
How to Identify Signs of Child Abuse
Not all abuse victims will behave the same way when being mistreated. However, there are a few common signs that can indicate a child is in need of assistance. These signs include:
- Unexplained injuries that occur repeatedly
- Unkempt appearance
- Mental and emotional issues
- Falling behind in school
- Stealing and other bad behaviors
- Delayed development in younger children
What to Do If You Suspect a Child Is Being Mistreated
In the event you believe a child is faced with direct harm, call 911 immediately. Otherwise, you can report the issue to the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department by calling 855-333-7233. If you’re not sure how to proceed, you can speak with a crisis counselor at the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline by calling or texting 1-800-422-4453.
Discuss your concerns openly and honestly. Don’t hold back if you feel a piece of evidence doesn’t have value, as it might still benefit the investigation. Once you’ve expressed your concerns, local authorities will investigate the matter by speaking with the family, including the child. From there they can determine the best strategy to get the child the help they need.
Here at Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero, P.C., we doggedly advocate for the rights of the vulnerable throughout Albuquerque. We have extensive experience representing victims of crime, and we treat every client with the respect and dignity they deserve during such a trying time. While pursuing a civil remedy won’t change what happened, it does ensure that you and your family have the necessary resources to move forward from this traumatic event.