Physical Abuse

  • Doubtful explanations of bruises and welts on any part of the body
  • Doubtful explanation of lacerations, abrasions or fractures
  • Bruises of different ages (various colors)
  • Injuries inconsistent with information offered by the child
  • Injuries reflecting shape of article used (electric cord, belt, buckle)
  • Injuries that regularly appear after absence or vacation
  • Doubtful explanation of burns, especially to soles, palms, back or buttocks
  • Burns with a pattern from an electric burner, iron or cigarette
  • Immersion burns with a distinct boundary line
  • Frightened of parents or afraid to go home

Emotional Abuse

  • Lags in physical development
  • Bizarre behavior
  • Fearfulness of adults or authority figures
  • Revelations of highly inappropriate discipline, i.e., being enclosed in a dark closet, forced to drink or eat inedible items
  • Domestic violence

Sexual Abuse

  • Venereal disease in a child of any age
  • Evidence of physical trauma or bleeding to the oral, genital or anal areas
  • Refusing to change into gym clothes
  • Running away from home and not giving any specific complaint
  • Sexual knowledge/behavior or use of language not appropriate to age level

Physical Neglect

  • Lack of basic needs (housing, clothing, food)
  • Lack of essential health care and high incidence of illness
  • Extreme poor hygiene on a regular basis
  • Inappropriate clothing in inclement weather on a consistent basis
  • Abandonment


  • Child’s parent, guardian or custodian is unable to provide for care or supervision and lacks appropriate care arrangement as the result of physical or mental illness, substance abuse, developmental disability, arrest or natural disaster and may be temporary or permanent
  • The child has no parent, or guardian in the home responsible for care or supervision

Source: NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL STATUTES - Chapter 7B Juvenile Code

It is important to note that these indicators are by no means all inclusive or absolute proof or evidence that abuse or neglect has occurred. If you have any questions or concerns whether or not a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect you should call the hotline at 336-703-ABUSE (2287).