Breaking the cycle of abuse

Published: Monday, Feb. 27 2012 2:26 p.m. MST

The most common abuse allegations involved children witnessing domestic violence and kids being abused physically or sexually themselves.

Chansamone says above all, despite the fear she felt for nearly a decade, making that call and taking her kids out of an abusive home saved their lives.

"I think that goes through a lot of women's minds: How to find a house? How are you going to manage it? Where are you going to come up with the money? How are you going to move out?" Chansamone said. "If you don't have any family and friends to go to, you become a sitting duck … and abusers often know that."

The following are some of the signs of abuse to look for if someone is concerned about a child. With regard to physical abuse:

• Look for unexpected burns, bruises or black eyes.

• Another possible sign of abuse is if he/she is absent from school frequently.

• A child may also cower as another adult approaches.

Signs of sexual abuse include:

• Difficulty walking or sitting.

• The person might demonstrate a bizarre or sophisticated knowledge of sexual activity at a very young age.

• The child might frequently attempt to run away.

• Parents may also seem extremely overprotective of children around other kids, especially kids of the opposite sex.

The Family Justice Center or YWCA hotline is 801-537-8600. The statewide Child Abuse Hotline is 1-800-678-9399. Both hotlines are open 24 hours.

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