Quick links: MyODP ASDNext AidInPA PhillyAP

Be Safe: Signs of Abuse


This resource is part of the be safe collection and provides information regarding potential signs of abuse.

Physical Signs

  • Injuries that cannot be explained (e.g., broken bones,burns, cuts, bruising, missing teeth)
  • Pain from injuries or abrasions
  • Bleeding in the genital or rectal areas
  • Blood on sheets or underwear
  • Yeast or bladder infections
  • STDs or pregnancy

Increased Obedience

  • More eager to please

More Fears

  • Fear of going to school, going home, being in the dark, riding the bus, or certain people or places
  • Stop wanting to be with someone in their life

Changes in school or daycare behavior

  • Difficulty concentrating or less cooperative
  • Younger kids – Stop playing and exploring
  • Older kids – Skip school

Increase in sexual behaviors

  • Sexual acting out
  • Draw sexual pictures that do not fit developmental age
  • Sexual aggression with others

Changes in mood

  • More scared, anxious, upset, angry, depressed,aggressive
  • More withdrawn or outgoing
  • More destructive, angry, or easily upset(especially in nonverbal individuals)

Changes in communication

  • Withdraw or communicate less, or communicatemore
  • Draw violent art to communicate distress

Increased risk taking

  • Experiment with drugs, alcohol, sex, self-abusive behaviors, or run away

Increased anger

  • Younger children – more temper tantrums or crying
  • All ages – More destructive of things
  • Yelling, hitting, or throwing things

Changes in functioning

  • Eat less or eat more
  • Suddenly lose or gain weight
  • Sleep more, sleep less, have nightmares, trouble going to sleep at night, scared to go to sleep
  • Do not wash hair or body,wear same clothes over and over
  • Refuse to take baths or take too many baths
  • More headaches or stomachaches
  • Suck thumb, wet the bed, act more clingy to parent or caregiver

Increase in intensity or frequency of self-stimulation, self-injurious, or repetitive behaviors, or development of new behaviors.

Rate this resource

Thank you for rating this resource!

Download entire resource (pdf)

This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.