Child Abuse

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Different kinds of child abuse.
2.1. Physical abuse
Physical abuse is the most recognised type of abuse, because the consequences, like broken bones, burns, bites, bruises and brain damages are often visible. But many injuries look like the result of everyday accidents and abusers use this fact to avoid suspicion. To decide if an injury is the result of physical abuse or not, you have to think of some factors: - Is this the first time the child has suffered from this injury? - Is the explanation of the parents how the injury happened possible or not? - Was the child brought straight to hospital or was there a delay? In general a small amount of physical punishment is considered as normal. Many parents smack their children, when they are naughty. This shows their helplessness. They don't know how to treat their children. Instead of talking or explaining parents often lose their temper and become aggressive. But isn't this sort of punishment a kind of abuse either? Where should we draw the line between punishment and abuse? Besides physical punishment doesn't produce better-behaved children. Parents have to set limits to change their behaviour. With smacking they only tell their children what they have done wrong but not what thy should make better.

2.2. Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse is now considered to be the most harmful type of abuse.

There are three main types:
- Incest: abuse in the family, for example between children and their biological or step-parents, or between brothers and sisters. Most of the cases of sexual abuse is incest. - Abuse between stranger and a child (including paedophile abuse) - Sexual exploitation (pornographic films or books, child prostitution) Sexual abuse is heavily discovered, because the child is mostly frightened by the abuser and sometimes he or she thinks it's his/her own fault or they feel ashamed. Children normally trust their parents, they admire and love them. First kids believe that everything what Mum or Dad is doing is good. So when they realise that the relationship is not "normal", that there are things which hurt them, kids think that it is their own fault and not the one of their perfect parents. They feel ashamed and try to keep it secret. The average age of a sexually abused child is ten years and 80% of these children registered as being abused were girls.

2.3. Emotional abuse
Emotional abuse is the most difficult category of abuse to define. It is so closely connected with the other types of abuse that some countries don't accept it as a separate form. Generally emotional abuse is when parents are unable to show their child love and affection, or when they threaten or shout at the child all the time, so that he/she loses self-confidence and becomes nervous. Constant hassle and criticism instead of praise and love have serious effects on the child's personality. For example, it might be hard for them to form successful relationships. Example (given in the book "child abuse"):

"My mum makes me work for four hours after school every day. At weekend I only get a couple of hours play. She says I'll thank her when I got older. But whatever I do, she is never satisfied."

2.4. Failure of thrive
Failure of thrive is also called growth retardation. Some children grow more slowly as a consequence of neglect. Example:
In the "Munchausen by proxy syndrome" a mother causes or imagines her child to be ill. She also may use drugs and poisons to produce symptoms of illness. Often the abused child is smaller than other children of the same age.

2.5. Exploitation

2.5.1. Child labour
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) says 250 Million children between the age of 5 and 14 are working - 61% of them in Asia, 32% in Africa, 7% in Latin America and a small amount in rich countries: 2 million in the EU. This means that one of three children in Africa, one of four in Asia and one of five in Latin America works. About 20% of children in developing countries...
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