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December 23, 2020

Looking for Signs of Abuse

Medical research has chronicled the conditions suffered by children exposed to childhood trauma. These traumas or "adverse childhood experiences" may be the result of verbal, physical and/or sexual abuse.

Adverse childhood experiences can also be the result of shaming, retaliation and degrading comments by abusive authority figures such as teachers, parents and athletic coaches.

Both parent and child may be confused and taken off guard by the insults or volatile conduct of an authority figure. In a coach-athlete relationship, the first reaction by the athlete may be to “brush it off” or believe that the coach's bad behavior is “just a part of competitive sports.”

Alternatively, there may be the belief that the child is “too sensitive” and needs to toughen up. In an effort to help the child toughen up, unacceptable coaching practices may be overlooked and excused.

However, poor treatment of child athletes that result in adverse childhood experiences have lasting and dire consequences over the course of the child's life.

Is your child the subject of an abusive coaching relationship?

Look for these warning signs of abuse:

  • Athlete refusing to discuss all or portions of their interactions with an authority figure;
  • Increased anxiety and depression;
  • Eating disorders;
  • Immune system dysfunctions;
  • Constant fear, anger and/or disassociation;
  • Isolation or bullying by other teammates;
  • Sleeping disturbances, night terrors.

The Science of Abuse

In 1990, medical studies showed how early life stresses or “ELS” significantly impact the brain. Brain scans conducted on individuals who experienced ELS showed damage to the body's neurons.

Separate medical studies conducted on individuals who were subjected to maltreatment as children also showed negative impacts to key brain structures and sensory systems. Children who sustain patterns of abuse are not merely enduring hurt feelings but maybe candidates for long term injury.

Beyond the science of abuse, the law also punishes individuals who physically and emotionally abuse children and adults. State and federal laws recognize claims for the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery.

Hiring An Abuse Attorney

Cases involving the sexual, physical and/or psychological abuse are complicated. However, an experienced attorney will give you straight answers and a plan of action to move forward.

Learn about the laws that govern sexual, physical and verbal abuse in a confidential call, with me, at 212-709-8141. We can also connect at judie@jsaunderslawfirm.com.

To learn more about the law and how to dispel the shame and fear associated with abuse, listen to the Legally Brief Podcast on Apple, Spotify, Amazon or your favorite platform.

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