POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 91 Emotional Emotional abuse includes all acts of omission or commission which result in the absence of a nurturing environment for the child. It occurs when the caregiver continually treats the child in such a negative way that the child’s self concept is seriously impaired. Emotionally abusive behaviour by the caregiver can include constant yelling, demeaning remarks, rejecting, ignoring, isolating the child or terrorizing the child. Emotional abuse is often difficult to prove. Signs may include: • Severe depression • Extreme withdrawal or aggressiveness • Overly compliant, too well mannered, too neat or clean ( an effort to avoid further abuse) • Extreme attention seeking • Displays extreme inhibition in play • Bedwetting that is non-medical in origin • Frequent psychosomatic complaints; headaches, nausea, abdominal pains • Child fails to thrive Physical Most caregivers do not intend to neglect their children. It usually results from ignorance about appropriate care for children or an ability to plan ahead. Neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to meet the basic needs such as food, sleep, safety, supervision, clothing, or medical treatment. Signs may include: • Pale, listless, unkempt • Frequent absence from school • Inappropriate clothing for the weather, dirty clothes • Engaging in delinquent acts, alcohol/drugs • Frequently forgets a lunch for school • Poor hygiene • Unattended need, i.e. dental work, glasses • Consistent lack of supervision Sexual Sexual abuse is any sexual exploitation of a child by an older person where the child is being used for sexual purposes. The Criminal Code of Canada identifies a number of types of sexual abuse, including; • Sexual interference • An invitation to sexually touch • Sexual exploitation of a young person • Parent or guardian procuring sexual activity from a child • Age inappropriate play with toys, self or others displaying explicit sexual acts • Age inappropriate sexually explicit drawings and or descriptions • Bizarre, sophisticated or unusual sexual knowledge • Prostitution • Seductive behaviours • Unusual or excessive itching in the genital or anal area • Torn, stained or bloody underwear • Pregnancy • Injuries to the genital or anal areas, i.e. bruising, swelling, or infection • Venereal diseases Child Abuse – Knowing the Signs Source: National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, Family Violence Prevention Division, Health Canada Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1B5