Cómo buscar señales de advertencia de abuso infantil

Seven-year-old Harmony Montgomery has been missing since October of 2019. Her disappearance was reported to police at the end of 2021—over 2 years later. As soon as the authorities were notified, they launched an investigation and recently detenido her father on charges relating to her disappearance, including assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

Kevin Montgomery, Harmony’s great-uncle, recently gave an entrevista where he claims signs of abuse were present the last time he saw the child in October 2019. While he did not elaborate on specifics, he claims that he was present during an “intense” family dispute which frightened young Harmony and that she “looked like a scared puppy” during the incident.

After the incident, Montgomery claimed he did not see the girl again and that Harmony’s father had banned her family from seeing her. Montgomery went on to say that in July of 2019, he witnessed Harmony with a black eye, but did not know how she received the injury. He also claims that Harmony’s father told him he “bashed her around the house.”

While we do not know what went on behind closed doors in the Montgomery household, clearly, there were warning signs of abuse. Child abuse from a parent can take many forms including physical, sexual, mental, and severe neglect. It can occur knowingly through actions that cause the abuse or through a failure to act which allows the abuse to happen or continue to happen.

Family members, neighbors, community members, and teachers all must recognize the warning signs of child abuse to help keep kids safe.

Warning signs of physical child abuse can include but are not limited to:

  • Contusiones inexplicables, ronchas, marcas de mordeduras humanas, zonas calvas
  • Numerosos moretones en varias etapas de curación.
  • Marcas en muchas superficies del cuerpo.
  • Quemaduras inexplicables, especialmente quemaduras de cigarrillos o de inmersión.
  • Retraimiento o agresión: comportamientos extremos
  • Incómodo con el contacto físico.
  • Miedo de ir a casa
  • Vestido inadecuadamente para el clima.
  • Se estremece cuando se le acerca un adulto (teme ser golpeado)
  • Reacciona de forma exagerada a accidentes como derramar leche.
  • No quiere hablar de la vida hogareña.
  • Apego extremo a los padres.
  • Extrema atención a las necesidades de los padres.

Only through education, collaboration, and support can we prevent child abuse. Children in the Commonwealth deserve to grow up in an environment that is free from abuse and neglect. Each and every one of us needs to know what the warning signs of abuse are and how to report suspected incidents of abuse.

If you suspect that a child is being abused, please call Pennsylvania’s ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.

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