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Child Abuse

Child Abuse definition, prevention , neglect, types, treatment, articles

What Is Child Abuse? "Child abuse" can be defined as causing or permitting any harmful or offensive contact on a child's body; and, any communication or transaction of any kind which humiliates, shames, or frightens the child. Some child development experts go a bit further, and define child abuse as any act or omission, which fails to nurture or in the upbringing of the children. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act defines child abuse and neglect as: at a minimum, any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm. A child of any age, sex, race, religion, and socioeconomic background can fall victim to child abuse and neglect. There are many factors that may contribute to the occurrence of child abuse and neglect. Parents may be more likely to maltreat their children if they abuse drugs or alcohol. Some parents may not be able to cope with the stress resulting from the changes and may experience difficulty in caring for their children. Major types of child abuse are : Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, & Sexual child Abuse, Neglect.( Physical neglect, educational neglect, emotional neglect) Emotional Abuse: (also known as: verbal abuse, mental abuse, and psychological maltreatment) Includes acts or the failures to act by parents or caretakers that have caused or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders. This can include parents/caretakers using extreme and/or bizarre forms of punishment, such as confinement in a closet or dark room or being tied to a chair for long periods of time or threatening or terrorizing a child. Less severe acts, but no less damaging are belittling or rejecting treatment, using derogatory terms to describe the child, habitual scapegoating or blaming.

Neglect: The failure to provide for the childs basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional. Physical neglect can include not providing adequate food or clothing, appropriate medical care, supervision, or proper weather protection (heat or coats). It may include abandonment. Educational neglect includes failure to provide appropriate schooling or special educational needs, allowing excessive truancies. Psychological neglect includes the lack of any emotional support and love, never attending to the child, spousal abuse, drug and alcohol abuse including allowing the child to participate in drug and alcohol use. Physical Abuse: The inflicting of physical injury upon a child. This may include, burning, hitting, punching, shaking, kicking, beating, or otherwise harming a child. The parent or caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child, the injury is not an accident. It may, however, been the result of over-discipline or physical punishment that is inappropriate to the childs age. Sexual Abuse: The inappropriate sexual behavior with a child. It includes fondling a childs genitals, making the child fondle the adults genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism and sexual exploitation. To be considered child abuse these acts have to be committed by a person responsible for the care of a child (for example a baby-sitter, a parent, or a daycare provider) or related to the child. If a stranger commits these acts, it would be considered sexual assault and handled solely be the police and criminal courts. Commercial or other exploitation of a child refers to use of the child in work or other activities for the benefit of others. This includes, but is not limited to, child labour and child prostitution. These activities are to the detriment of the childs physical or mental health, education, or spiritual, moral or social-emotional development.

Child abuse can have the following consequences : 1. It will encourage your child to lie, resent, fear, and retaliate, instead of loving, trusting, and listening 2. It will alienate your child from you and the rest of your family & make him a recluse. 3. It will lower your child's self esteem, and affect your child's psychological development and ability to behave normally outside his home. 4. When your child grows up, your child could probably carry on the family tradition, and abuse your grandchildren. 5. Your child may exclude you from his adult life. For example, you might not be invited to your child's wedding, or not be allowed any contact or relationship with your grandchildren.

More information could be obtained from :

Violence & Injury Prevention Team Cluster on Social Change and Mental Health World Health Organization 20 Avenue Appia 1211 Geneva 27 Switzerland

Child Abuse: Emotional, Physical, Sexual and Neglect

Child abuse may not have clear signs and adults need to be vigilant and aware when interacting with children. Know the signs and types of child abuse.

Child abuse should be easy to recognize. Abuse is not always physical and the more subtle forms of neglect can often take years for a caring adults to acknowledge. Abuse can often appear as discipline and children are usually feeling deserving of abuse, thus they are not likely to seek adult help in a guardian/child relationship. It is often up to a caring adult to distinguish abuse from discipline.

Emotional Abuse and Child Neglect

Adults are often hesitant to interfere in what are deemed "family matters" unless there is some tangible proof that intervention needs to occur. However, child neglect and emotional abuse can leave lasting effects in a child's life. Caring adults need to know the signs of child neglect or emotional abuse in order to help put a stop to it. Emotional abuse is often difficult to recognize but can have long-term effects on a child psychological state. It often requires a caring adult to witnesses the family's interaction and not simply the child's behavior outside of the home. Emotional abuse can include belittling the child, intentionally ignoring the child, or subjecting the child to violent episodes. Each child will react differently. Some may have grown accustomed to this behavior in the home and may not appear to act out. The child may simply appear to be reserved and shy, but these can be signs of insecurities reinforced in the home. A child may also take on the roll of a bully and try to control those viewed as lesser individuals. Adults should try to get a good insight into the family dynamic and to get a better idea of whether emotional abuse is present in the home. Child neglect is often a little easier to recognize but a caring adult needs to know what to look for. Simply put, neglect is not providing a child with the basic essentials of living. This could include food, clothing, supervision or hygiene. An adult would need to find a pattern in one of the areas mentioned. For instance, if the temperature has consistently been below freezing and a child is regularly attending school in shorts, t-shirts and without the appropriate winter wear, the parents or guardians need to be providing appropriate clothing for the outside

conditions. The signs of neglect can be subtle but they are often consistent and an observant adult that is aware of the signs can appropriately intervene.

Physical Abuse and Sexual Abuse

Physical abuse has very tangible signs but can often be mistaken for disciplinary action. If physical abuse is present in the child's home and a caring adult is attempting to decipher its presence from physical discipline there are signs. Physical abuse is often unpredictable and the child may not know what action will send a guardian into a flare of anger. A guardian inflicts physical abuse out of rage, not the desire to lovingly teach the child right from wrong. A child enduring physical abuse will often be controlled by the fear of personal injury by a loved one or other adults. A child will often have frequent injuries and will shy away from touch or sudden movements. Sexual abuse of a child is unique in that it falls into all three categories. The act of sexual abuse is emotionally and physically trying for a child and a wide array of reactions can be expected. Certain children may exhibit extreme changes in behavior, including sudden bedwetting or nightmares. Other children may suddenly yet simply refuse to change for gym in an attempt to internalize their reactions to the abuse. A concerned adult may look for physical symptoms such as the inability to walk or sit and should always be willing to listen to and appropriately investigate a child's accusation of sexual abuse. Many adults may think to look for these signs of abuse in smaller children but children of any age are susceptible to abuse from a parent or guardian. If an adult suspects abuse of any type, the state child protective services need to be contacted. If the state finds cause, an investigation into the home can occur and the child and family can receive the proper help. Many parents do not realize they are abusing their children and often come from abusive homes themselves. It is the role of society to intervene and help both the parent and the child live a healthy life.

Causes of abuse
ometimes you may have felt like hurting a child. Most parents have. Usually, however, they stop themselves in time. When parents cannot control their angry feelings, it often is because: They were badly treated as children. They have a problem such as a shaky marriage or more children than they can handle. They feel all alone. They were taught harsh methods of discipline that can lead to violence. They feel resentful because their children are un- wanted, handicapped, or difficult to handle. When these pressures combine, a crisis may be all that is needed to bring years of anger to the surface and make a parent take that anger out on a child.

Helping prevent abuse

Rather than blaming abusive parents, it is more useful to relieve their stress. It always helps to have a friend who cares during times of fear and loneliness, offers support when the going gets rough, listens with compassion, and provides information about available services. Of course, some abusive parents reject offers of help and may need professional care. Sometimes, however, a crisis demands intervention. In some cases, you may have no choice but to report these parents to the proper authorities. In most areas, this is the local Childrens Services Division.

The most important thing is to be involved. After all, a childs future is at stake.

Community support
any parents who abuse their children would like to get help, but theyre afraid to ask for it. They fear they will be punished or that their children will be taken away from them. Sometimes they just dont know help is available. In most of the following programs, the goal is to keep the family together. More often than not, children are allowed to remain with their parents. Hotlines. Hotlines give parents someone to talk with, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hotline staffers are trained to cope with very upset people. They decide what response is needed, from offering a sympathetic ear to sending out a police car or ambulance.

Emergency shelters. Emergency shelters offer children a refuge in times of need. Parents can leave children at these places when they just cant take it any more. Or they can drop children off while they go for treatment. Emergency shelters are open 24 hours a day and are staffed with people who understand the needs of abused children and their parents.
Homemakers. Homemakers are people trained in housekeeping and family care. They go into the home for a few days or weeks when parents are having trouble managing by themselves. Homemakers try to relieve parents of some of their child care responsibilities. They also help parents find less stressful ways to run the household. Self-help groups. Parents Anonymous, the best known of the self-help groups, is run by parents themselves. Parents Anonymous gives abusing parents a chance to talk about their feelings with other parents who have similar problems. It provides an accepting atmosphere where parents can help each other. Parent trainers. Also known as lay therapists, parent trainers serve as friends and lifelines to the outside world. They offer parents whatever kind of help is needed at the moment. This could be a ride to the hospital or a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes long-term friendships develop between abusing parents and their aides. Therapy. In some cases, individual or group treatment with a psychotherapist is appropriate. This process can help parents uncover the sources of their unhappiness. In therapy, parents explore more satisfying ways of meeting their needs as well as those of their children.

You can find the telephone numbers for these support groups through your local county office of the Oregon State University Extension Service, your county health department, or local Childrens Services Division. These numbers also are in the telephone book, under your county and state listings.

What are the Causes of Child Abuse ?

by Dan This question is complex and very complicated to answer for the purpose of this web site. To even attempt it I run the fear of over simplification. Pedophiles have long been a mystery to why they abuse? We do know there is an arousal as well as a control factor. There is also an addictive quality that is taking place. The treatment is difficult, expensive and riddled with failures. There is no simple answer. I have spent years assessing and treating pedophiles with minimal success. One has to re frame, take a different view. If there is only one success out of one hundred , then many children have been saved from the emotional torment. It has emotional drained me from time to time, and I have had to take numerous sabbaticals.

Child abuse in the form of emotional and physical assault is primarily by the caretaker. They lack the inability to parent and nurture on a consistent basis. Individuals who abuse lack coping mechanisms, can frequently be selfish, have little to no understanding what child development is, and are frequently self medicating with alcohol or drugs. Parental training, anger management, is imperative if child abuse has a chance at being slowed down. Many blame impoverished areas, with low income as well as the uneducated as the cause. Some of the most caring parents I know are rural farmers, no high school education and have excellent values. I have seen the wealthiest neglect their children, abuse their children while they climb the corporate ladder looking for status and a false sense of self. Parents who put the business first and the family second is a form of abuse. Causes are many. Educating parents on how to be parents is crucial, being able to be introspective and look at selfish behavior as well as their substance abuse issues are imperative. The childs needs must be placed first. We are talking about a human being, who is being molded by his parents. Children look to us as though we do no wrong. It is an atrocity that caretakers cannot see the errors of their ways. Knowing the causes are helpful, it is time to implement change. Donate to child abuse web sites, tell a peer about this web site and visit Start passing on the education, the sooner the better.

What are the consequences of sexual abuse? What are the effects of child abuse? What are the symptoms of child molestation?


Note that other traumatic events can cause the same symptoms as sexual molestation. Thus, occurrence of the symptoms listed below is not proof of sexual molestation. Depending on the seriousness, the duration and the sort of abuse, some of those who were abused in their childhood, or recently retain certain problems due to this trauma. These can be divided into psychological, social, sexual and physical problems. Psychological problems: Fears, panic attacks, sleeping problems, nightmares, irritability, outbursts of anger and sudden shock reactions when being touched. Little confidence, and self-respect and respect for one's own body may change. Behavior that harms the body: addiction to alcohol and other substances, excessive work or sports, depression, self-destruction and prostitution. Social problems: Have little confidence in other people.

Fear of loss of control in relationships. Sexual problem: While making love problems often occur. The partner may be confused by a certain remark, touch or behavior that brings back memories of the abuse. Patients sometimes don't want to make love at all anymore or make love less. Sexual relation problems may occur, together whit pain while making love, not wanting to make love and problems in getting aroused. Problems with the orgasm and coming also occur. Physical complaints: Abdominal pain, pain while making love, menstrual pain, intestinal complaints, stomach ache, nausea, headache, back pain, painful shoulders, in short all kinds of chronic pain may occur. The pain is often inexplicable. Eating disorders often occur in sexually abused people. More. When the patients, in reaction to a harmful event, disordered for more than a month in such a way that they can't go to school, can't work, isolate themselves or experience other negative consequences, one can talk about a post-traumatic stress syndrome More information. This disorder originates in reaction to a very harmful event and has three characteristic symptoms:
1. Denial and repression 2. alternating with re-experiencing, 3. and they are always over irritated.

Denial and repression ; they deny or repress the harmful event(s): they don't want to talk about or avoid certain situations. At an older age, memory of sexual abuse is often completely suppressed, but can sometimes be recovered in psychotherapy. It is, however, difficult to determine if such recovered memories are memories of real experiences of memories of dreams or imagined events. This difficulty can be a problem if you want to prosecute the abuser, but it is not a problem for treatment using modern psychotherapeutic methods. Re-experiencing ; they experience the event(s) again; unintentionally they are confronted with memories of the abuse, for example through nightmares, sudden memories or unexplainable physical problems. Over irritation ; they are easily affected, hot-tempered, jumpy, excessively alert and don't fall asleep easily

Effects of Child Abuse on Children: Abuse in General

Children suffering abuse develop a range of maladaptive, anti-social and self-destructive behaviors and thoughts by trying to cope with the abuse - by trying to understand the situation and why the abuse is happening. Think of it like this: a person is robbed and beaten while walking down the street at night. In trying to deal with the situation, the person thinks, "I shouldn't have walked down that street," or "I shouldn't have been there at that time of night," or "I should have walked with more confidence," or "I shouldn't have made eye contact," or "I should have given in quicker," or "I should have fought back," or any number of other ideas. The point is the person feels a sense of control over the situation if they can blame themselves or something they did for the attack. Instead of the world being a dangerous place where violence occurs at random, the world becomes a safe place within certain behavioral parameters. Children experience the same kinds of thoughts when they suffer abuse, except they are much more immature and often make much less sense because the violence is occuring in their own family, and nothing makes sense in that situation. And the abuse suffered by children occurs much more frequently. If the adult in the above example is attacked and mugged every week despite changing their behavior each time, it won't be long before the person starts coming up with bizarre explanations for the violence and becomes afraid to leave the house entirely. If the person has a chance to talk with the attacker after every attack (like in cartoons where the rabbit asks the fox "why did you attack me?" and the fox comes up with a different silly reason each time or like in child abuse where the victim and the perpetrator interact constantly) the person will be sent through a psychological maze of smoke and mirrors leading to any number of bizarre ideas about how to avoid the attack next week. By coming up with ideas about what they did to cause the abuse and what they can do differently to avoid the abuse, children also develop a range of maladaptive behaviors which can become pathological problems. In addition to distorting children's thoughts, abuse also forces children into a position of having to "hide the family secret". This prevents children from having real relationships and has life-long effects. And because our ability to form healthy social relationships is learned, abused children are deprived of many skills necessary to navigate the social world. Their entire concept of a relationship is distorted. This leads to problematic relationships in life and even on the job. Another disturbing aspect of abuse is the experiential restraint it puts on children. If a child fears doing anything new because of the chance that it will lead to a violent attack or because an abusive parent keeps extremely tight control over them, the child will lose his or her sense of curiosity and wonder at the world and will stop trying new things and exercising his or her mind. That child will never achieve his or her intellectual potential. Another aspect of abuse which cannot be ignored is the physical stress it puts on a child. Multiple exposures to violence and trauma cause what's known as autonomic and endocrine hyperarousal. Basically it means the victim gets stressed out. When a person experiences this hyperarousal over and over again, there are permanent physiological changes. These changes can be seen as over-reactions to stimuli, as in being easily startled especially by things that remind the victim of the original event; generally being emotionally numb; craving high-risk, stimulating, or dangerous experiences or self-injury; difficulties in attention and concentration; cardiovascular problems; and immune suppression which leads to a higher risk for colds and more severe illnesses.3

There is a long list of outcomes for children experiencing abuse. They range from mild, almost unnoticeable personality effects to full-blown breakdowns in healthy functioning. The point is that abuse increases a child's risk of developing a number of health and psychological problems.

Effects of child abuse:

Academic difficulties; Agressive behavior; Alcohol and/or other drug abuse; Anxiety; Attention problems; Bad dreams; Bed wetting; Behavior problems; Chronic pain; Compulsive sexual behaviors; Concentration problems; Dangerous behavior such as speeding; Dehydration; Depression; Dissociative states; Eating disorders; Failure to thrive; Fear or shyness; Fear of certain adults or places; Frequent injuries; Insomnia; Learning problems; Lying; Malnutrition; Oppositionality; Panic attacks; Physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches; Repeated self-injury; Risky sexual behaviors; Running away; Self neglect; Separation anxiety; Sexual dysfunction; Sleep disorders; Social withdrawal; Stealing; Stuttering; Substance abuse; Suicide attempts; Thumb-sucking or any age-inappropriate behavior; Truancy.2,3,6,15 Children have different levels of resiliency or hardiness and different personality attributes, so different children respond differently to similarly abusive situations. That's why the lists of warning signs above seems so general. None of the symptoms above is diagnostic of child abuse - i.e., the presence of any of the signs above does not prove that abuse has occurred. Also, a child may endure abuse without developing any of the symptoms above. Abuse simply increases the risk for all of the symptoms. Basically, children are supposed to learn everything they need to thrive in this world from their caretakers. Abusive parents provide the opposite of what children need. Instead of teaching and nurturing growth, they distort and destroy.