According to the Texas Family Code...
Physical injuries may point to abuse when:
It's hard to see how they could have been caused by an accident. Suspicious injuries include:
Injuries that have a pattern, such as a straight line or a circle.
Injuries to areas of the body that usually are protected, such as the inside of the legs and arms, the back, the genitals, and the buttocks.
The explanation for the injury changes. Or it's not a believable explanation.
There are signs that the child has been hurt before.
The child doesn't receive medical care for his or her injury.
Suspect Neglect When You See:
Lack of personal cleanliness
Torn or dirty clothing
Stealing or begging for food
Child unattended for long periods of time
Need for glasses, dental care, or other medical attention
Frequent tardiness or absence from school
Suspect Sexual Abuse When You See:
Physical signs of sexually transmitted diseases
Evidence of injury to the genital area
Pregnancy in a young girl
Difficulty in sitting or walking
Extreme fear of being alone with adults of a certain sex
Sexual comments, behaviors or play
Knowledge of sexual relations beyond what is expected for a child’s age
Sexual victimization of other children
Suspect Emotional Abuse When You See:
Severe depression, anxiety, or aggression
Difficulty making friends or doing things with other children
Lagging in physical, emotional, and intellectual development
Caregiver who belittles the child, withholds love, and seems unconcerned about the child’s problems
Slower-than-normal development. The child does not show the abilities and skills normally found in other children the same age, such as starting to talk or socialize with others. Some children regress, which means they slip backward, losing skills they had before.
Failure to thrive. This is a term that means the child isn't gaining weight or height the way he or she should. Although this can be caused by a medical problem, it can also be a sign that the child is not being well cared for.
Unusual interaction with a parent. The parent may not be interested in the child. Or the child may be constantly trying not to upset the parent. The child may actually be afraid of the parent.
Suddenly getting lower grades in school.
Behaving in a way that isn't appropriate or that causes problems. In a young child, this could mean being unusually fussy, being afraid, or not being interested in activities. Children often act out what they have seen or experienced, such as violence or sexual activity. Older children may act out in unusual ways, such as having sex, fighting, using drugs, or running away.
Signs of Child Abuse