Over the weekend, residents of Shinyalu in Kakamega county were left in shock after a woman attacked and seriously injured her 13-year-old step-son for allegedly stealing a meal of kumbe kumbe that she had prepared. Trouble started when the stepmother, violet Injeete, arrived home to find an empty cooking pot where she had left her precious stew. The police have launched a manhunt for Injeete who has since gone into hiding.

The case is just one in a mass of similar cases some of which go unreported. A 2020 survey by Action Aid found that about half of the Kenyan Child population has suffered at least one form of violence which constitutes to child abuse. Schools open in a few days and some abused children will find refuge and safety being in school. Teachers can help abused children but only if they are able to spot the signs of abuse. Here are some of the telltale signs that a child is being abused.

Fear of the parent

Children are scared of many things but a parent should not be one of those things. If you notice that a child is always avoiding their parent and is scared most of the time. Try to dig deeper, the feared parent may be abusing the child.

Physical Scars and Injuries

The good book advises parents to never spare the rod if they want to raise a disciplined child. However, there is a difference between disciplining a child and abusing them. If you notice a child that always has scars and injuries that they don’t want to talk about, the child is most likely being abused by their parents and it’s important to take action.

What parents need to know about child abuse
As a parent, do you really know what child abuse is? Are you in a position toidentify if your child is being abused? Do you know what to do or where toreport instances of abuse? These are all questions parents should keep in mind because child abusecontinues to occur and sometimes goes unreport…

Sudden Changes in Behavior

Some children suddenly start showing strange behavior due to the abuse they experience at home. For example, a child who was previously fluent in their speech may start stuttering. Other children may become withdrawn and sad while others may start wetting themselves. If you witness such a child, try to create a safe space where they can express themselves and find out what is happening in the home front.

Expressing Hatred for a parent

If a child tells you that they hate a parent, or you overhear them saying that to their friends, again establish a close relationship with the child and try to find out why they hate their parent. You may just discover that the child is being molested by their parent or caregiver at home.

A child that appears neglected

Neglect can show in different forms. For instance, it could be a sick child that is not receiving medical attention even though their parent has been informed, or a child who comes to school looking unkempt.

A reluctance to go home

While some kids may rush to go home once the school day is over, some kids will show a reluctance to leave the school. This may be them trying to escape the abuse they face at home.

Signs of sexual abuse

Some children may exhibit signs of sexual abuse. For example, they may spot their clothes or have blood in their underwear. Other children will exhibit sexual behavior that is inappropriate for their age. Yet others may make inappropriate sexual jokes or outrightly tell you or their friends that they are being abused. All these signs should not be ignored.

To Wrap it up…

The age where children were the responsibility of the whole society is gone and individualism has crept deep into the core of parenting. Nevertheless, each one of us in the society has a responsibility to look out for the safety and well being of children. Teachers especially are well placed to identify any signs of abuse as they spend a lot of time with children.

Featured Image: Getty Images

The exciting May issue of Parents magazine is here!
On this Mother’s Day issue, we catch up with Beatrice Elachi. The former legislator opens up about her journey into politics, motherhood, and her marriage in an exhilarating candid read that you don’t want to miss!