CALM Director offers tips to spot child abuse

“If someone is able to prevent a case of child abuse before it occurs, then a tragedy has been averted,” said Dr. Anna Kokotovic, Executive Director of CALM (Child Abuse Listening and Mediation).

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and CALM, believes that active awareness and involvement by individuals in the community will dramatically decrease the number of cases of child abuse.

“It’s really about who gets there first,” said Kokotovic. “We are simply asking members of our community to please familiarize themselves with some of the basic information with respect to child abuse so they will recognize a potentially dangerous situation when it is happening.”

Child Abuse Warning signs from CALM

– When a child exhibits sudden changes in behavior or school performance. If he is nervous around adults or afraid of certain adults, reluctant to go home from school, very passive and withdrawn or very aggressive and disruptive, tired a lot, complains of nightmares or is fearful or anxious.

– If a child has unexplained burns, bruises, black eyes and other injuries, apparent fear of a parent or caretaker or faded bruises of healing injuries after missing school.

– When a child has difficulty walking or sitting or other indications of injury in the genital area, or sexual knowledge or behavior beyond what is normal for the child’s age or is running away from home.

– If a child is acting overly mature or immature for his age, has extreme changes in behavior, delays in physical or emotional development, attempted suicide or shows a lack of emotional attachment to the parent.

Although the month of April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, CALM urges the community to take an active role year-round, as awareness of child abuse and neglect needs to be a continuing commitment. For more information please call 965.2376, or visit

Originally published in South Coast Beacon on April 29, 2004.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.