CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Students at the University of Virginia are getting the chance to learn just how much teachers can help students stay safe in troubled times.

Child maltreatment is a sensitive subject that many may not want to discuss, but in order to address the issue people need to be informed.

Maria Fitzpatrick, an associate professor of policy analysis at Cornell University, spoke at UVA about research on the subject on Friday, November 30.

She discussed how teachers could identify some of the signs of maltreatment other than the typical physical abuse. She said, many times, teachers recognize child maltreatment but are afraid to speak up because of uncertainty.

“It's a really difficult thing to try to figure out whether a child is being abused or maltreated or whether there could be other things going on in a child's home that have the same symptoms,” Fitzpatrick said. “I also think it can be a difficult process to - sometimes it's difficult to know whether the signs you are observing are maltreatment."

If a teacher wants to stay anonymous, there are hotlines they can call to report it to proper authorities.