Expert Witness Provides Testimony in Recognizing Signs of Daycare AbuseBy HG.org
Some parents who believe that their caregiver has mistreated their child may sue the daycare center or caregiver for this poor treatment. An expert witness may be called to testify about the signs of daycare abuse and whether these signs existed in a particular case.
Daycare Abuse FactorsMany parents work outside the home and use a daycare center or provider to help care for their child while they are away. Since a person may spend considerable hours away from a child, it is important to check the safety of a particular environment. Finding out that a child is being abused can be one of the hardest things for a parent to go through. In some cases, a parent simply does not want to believe that abuse is occurring and may ignore some of the signs. In many cases, the child’s provider is also a family member or friend, making the situation even more complicated.
Seriousness of Childcare AbuseApproximately three million reports of child abuse are made every year in the United States alone. While some of these reports are related to the child’s parents or other members of the household, many of them pertain to the child’s care provider. The highest risk population for childhood abuse are children younger than five.
There are various types of abuse that even the youngest of children may experience, such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect. In some cases, multiple forms of abuse are occurring at the same time.
Warning SignsSome warning signs that abuse may be occurring includes:
Complaints from the ChildChildren of different ages have different communication styles and abilities. Babies may cry more when they are being handed to an abusive caregiver. Sometimes this symptom may be overlooked as simply wanting to cling to a primary caregiver parent, but it can also sometimes be the first indication that something is wrong. Older children may express not liking a caregiver. Parents may try to encourage their children to talk openly with them and may open the conversation by asking about things that their child liked or did not like.
Sudden Changes in BehaviorIf a child is being abused, his or her behavior may suddenly change. A well-behaved child may begin to act out. He or she may put up a fight when left at daycare. His or her performance may decline. He or she may regress. For example, a potty-trained child may begin to wet the bed at night.
Unexplained InjuriesA child who is being physically abused may have unexplained injuries such as burns, fractures, bruises, cuts or other injuries. While children may fall, bump into each other or experience other accidents, recurring injuries are often a warning sign that something more sinister is going on.
WithdrawnA child who is being physically, emotionally or sexually abused may start to become withdrawn. He or she may shun a parent or other loved one’s affections or become clingy. The child may become less talkative. A child may prefer to be alone for long periods of time.
Abused children may demonstrate inappropriate behaviors. A child who has been sexually abused may talk about sexual things that should not be known at his or her age. A child may start to act in a seductive manner or appear curious about sexual matters. A child may start to rock back and forth and bang his or her head against a wall.
Have NightmaresA child who is being abused may appear fearful during the day or at night. He or she may have trouble sleeping and explain that he or she is having repeated nightmares.
Other Physical SymptomsThere may be other physical symptoms of abuse. For example, a child who has been sexually abused may experience itching, redness or swelling around his or her genital area. He or she may also have trouble sitting or walking. An abused child may complain about having a headache or a stomach ache that is not symptomatic of an actual medical condition.
Caregiver Warning SignsThe way that a caregiver behaves can also indicate whether abuse is occurring. For example, a caregiver may give conflicting accounts about how a child was injured. He or she may have a history of abuse with other children. He or she may talk about the child in a negative way, belittle the child or yell at the child. He or she may seem indifferent to the child. He or she may have mental health issues, such as a history of depression or anxiety.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.