Child abusers are masters of deception. They often disguise their abuse with careers of service, such as children’s ministry, or church, or school.  They also conceal their character by attaching themselves to people whose reputations are beyond repute.  People seem to assume that people with great character will only have those with great character around them.  But, we cannot know what lurks behind the outward personas of people.

Abuse is often subtle or hard to detect or prove.  Abusers use techniques for verbal, physical or sexual abuse which make it hard discern what is happening.

Most, if not all, states require most professionals and any person to report abuse to the State.  For example, Doctors who witness bruises or suspicious breaks (e.g. spiral) on a child.  While some abuse may be obvious, most is not.  The Mississippi Department of Human Services has developed the following guide list for determining if more subtle signs of abuse are subject to report:

The following is taken from the Mississippi Department of Human Services website.

Abuse Is:

  • Emotional/Verbal Abuse is anything said or done that is hurtful or threatening to a child and is the most difficult form of maltreatment to identify:
    • Name calling, “You’re stupid”
    • Belittling, “I wish you were never born”
    • Destroying child’s possessions or pets
    • Threatens to harm child or people they care about, “I’m going to choke you” or “I’ll break your arm”
    • Locking a child in a closet or box
    • Rejecting a child
    • Isolating a child
  • Sexual Abuse is any inappropriate touching by a friend, family member, anyone having on-going contact and/or a stranger such as:
    • Touching a child’s genital area
    • Any type of penetration of a child
    • Allowing a child to view or participate in pornography
    • Prostitution, selling your child for money, drugs, etc.
    • Forcing a child to perform oral sex acts
    • Masturbating in front of a child
    • Having sex in front of a child
  • Physical Abuse is any type of contact that results in bodily harm such as bruising, abrasions, broken bones, internal injuries, burning, missing teeth and skeletal injuries:
    • Hitting or slapping a child with an extension cord, hands, belts, fists, broom handles, brushes, etc.
    • Putting child into hot water
    • Cutting the child with a knife or any other sharp object
    • Shaking or twisting arms or legs, yanking a child by the arm
    • Putting tape over a child’s mouth
    • Tying a child up with rope or cord
    • Throwing a child across a room or down the stairs
  • Neglect means not meeting the basic needs of the child and is the most common form of maltreatment:
    • Medical – not giving a child life-sustaining medicines, overmedicating, not obtaining special treatment devices deemed necessary by a physician
    • Supervision – leaving child/children unattended and leaving child/children in the care of other children too young to protect them (depending upon the maturity of the child)
    • Clothing and good hygiene – dressing children inadequately for weather, persistent skin disorders resulting from improper hygiene
    • Nutrition – lack of sufficient quantity or quality of food, letting a child consistently complain of hunger and allowing the child to rummage for food
    • Shelter – having structurally unsafe housing, inadequate heating, and unsanitary housing conditions



Contact Information
Mississippi Department of Human Services
Division of Family & Children’s Services
Administration/Prevention Unit
1-800-345-6347 | 1-800-222-8000

1 comment

  1. Sexual violence and rape are terrible crimes. As is all human suffering. When reporting, don’t forget that all the headlines and stories written have a human face.

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