Child abuse remains to be a problem even in prosperous families. Authoritarian parenting style and the family history of abuse may force adults to inconsiderate acts. And not only parents. Bullying is another form of child abuse done by peers. Teenagers may become cruel to other children when they feel their own superiority. Anyway, someone shall notice the evident signs of child abuse and report their suspicions to the authorities (if the abusers are parents). In the majority of cases, this person is a teacher.
Child abuse is not something that a teacher can witness with their own eyes. It may be difficult even to predict maltreatment because it is not necessarily linked to a certain social and economic conditions in the family. Nevertheless, there are certain signs which indicate that something is definitely wrong with the child. Anxiety, fear, withdrawal from the group activities show that something strongly disturbs the child. Abused children may express extremes in their behavior; they can suddenly become aggressive when there is no actual hazard around them. Various injuries appearing frequently in non-typical places as well as poor hygiene may persuade a teacher that the child is neglected.
Some teachers may doubt whether they shall intrude into the private matters of children and their parents. However, when the signs of abuse are obvious, teachers are morally obliged to report about their suspicions to the respective state or federal agency. The local department of social services usually maintain a CPS unit, which receives and investigates reports of probable child abuse. Teachers shall submit an oral or written report which includes the address of the child and their parents, information about injuries noticed by teacher, results of a conversation with the child, and teacher’s contact information. It is highly important to make sure that local agencies are aware of the suspected abuse as teachers may be the only adults who care about the well-being of abused kids.