Child Abuse

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Child abuse consists of any act of commission or omission that endangers or impairs a child’s physical or emotional health and development. Child abuse includes any damage done to a child which cannot be reasonably explained and which is often represented by an injury or series of injuries appearing to be non-accidental in nature.

Psychological maltreatment is a repeated pattern of damaging interactions between parent(s) and child that becomes typical of the relationship. In some situations, the pattern is chronic and pervasive; in others, the pattern occurs only when triggered by alcohol or other potentiating factors. Occasionally, a very painful singular incident, such as an unusually contentious divorce, can initiate psychological maltreatment. Psychological maltreatment of children occurs when a person conveys to a child that he or she is worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted, endangered, or only of value in meeting another’s needs. The perpetrator may spurn, terrorize, isolate, or ignore or impair the child’s socialization. If severe and/or repetitious, the following behaviors may constitute psychological maltreatment; spurning (belittling, degrading, shaming, or ridiculing a child; singling out a child to criticize or punish; and humiliating a child in public). Terrorizing (committing life-threatening acts; making a child feel unsafe; setting unrealistic expectations with threat of loss, harm, or danger if they are not met; and threatening or perpetrating violence against a child or child’s loved ones or objects). Exploiting or corrupting that encourages a child to develop inappropriate behaviors (modeling, permitting, or encouraging antisocial or developmentally inappropriate behavior; encouraging or coercing abandonment of developmentally appropriate autonomy; restricting or interfering with cognitive development). Denying emotional responsiveness (ignoring a child or failing to express affection, caring, and love for a child). Rejecting (avoiding or...
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