Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect


Children can become both physically and psychologically healthy individuals if they grow up in a supportive environment. It is sad to say, however, that not all children live in such conditions. That is why numerous young individuals suffer from abuse and neglect, resulting in adverse consequences for their health and well-being. Thus, the principal purpose of this paper is to present signs of child abuse and neglect and to mention specific steps that teachers should take to address these negative phenomena.

Main body

To begin with, one should give statistics on child abuse prevalence. Zeanah and Humphreys stipulate that in 2016, “approximately 676,000 children in the United States were confirmed as victims of abuse and neglect” (638). Since this high number refers to cases of emotional, sexual, and physical maltreatment, there are various signs of child abuse. According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, aggressive behavior, absence of reaction to pain, frequent injuries without adequate explanation, and others are typical signs of physical abuse. If a child is neglected, the symptoms include malnourishment, begging for food, dirty clothing, and many others (Texas Department of Family and Protective Services). Furthermore, knowledge of sexual relations and injury to the genital area are manifestations of sexual abuse, while a child’s over compliance and low self-esteem are signals of emotional abuse (Texas Department of Family and Protective Services).

If teachers suspect that a child is subject to abuse, they should take specific actions. It is so because teachers “are often classified as mandatory reporters under state child abuse and neglect laws” (Coble). This term denotes that it is teachers’ legal responsibility to report suspected child abuse to the appropriate state agency. Thus, an immediate response is the first step to be taken. Bullock et al. emphasize that it is not necessary to wait some time to gather sufficient evidence because this strategy can expose children to physical and emotional pain. As a teacher, I will not hesitate to disclose this information because I feel that this measure will protect children.

In addition to that, the teachers’ function is not only limited to reporting. On the one hand, educators should organize discussions with parents to teach them how to provide appropriate care to their children. Successful outcomes are possible here if teachers effectively use their communication skills to contribute to parents’ behavior changes. On the other hand, Bullock et al. admit that breakfast and after-school clubs for parents and children are also useful for improving a child-parent relationship and minimizing the prevalence of the adverse phenomena under analysis. I think that these actions will imply much resistance from parents. Consequently, I suppose that I will need much patience and perfect communication skills to result in positive outcomes concerning child abuse and neglect.


In conclusion, child abuse and neglect are severe problems in the United States because thousands of children suffer from them. Since young individuals can be exposed to sexual, emotional, and physical abuse, negative consequences can arise. That is why it is necessary to take specific actions. A significant role is given to teachers because they are mandatory reporters, and it is their responsibility to disclose suspicion of child abuse to the appropriate agencies. Furthermore, additional actions include leading discussions with parents and organizing breakfast and after-school clubs for children and parents. This strategy can only result in positive outcomes if teachers have sufficient patience and perfect communication skills.

Works Cited

Bullock, Lydia, et al. “Identifying and Responding to Child Neglect: Exploring the Professional Experiences of Primary School Teachers and Family Support Workers.” Child Abuse Review, vol. 28, no. 3, 2019, pp. 209-224.

Coble, Christopher. “Legal Responsibility of Teachers to Report Abuse.” FindLaw, 2015, Web.

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. “Recognize the Signs of Child Abuse.” 2020. Web.

Zeanah, Charles H., and Kathryn L. Humphreys. “Child Abuse and Neglect.” Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 57, no. 9, 2018, pp. 637-644.

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