Maltreatment of children is not a new phenomenon. It dates back far into history, as far as the colonial times and even back to biblical times. During the recent years child maltreatment has had an increase in the publics eye. There are many factors to child maltreatment. There are four general categories of child maltreatment now recognized. They are physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and emotional maltreatment. Each category, in turn, covers a range of behavior. The maltreatment of children not only affects the children themselves, but also affects the family intern making it dysfunctional.
Physical abuse may be best defined as any non-accidental physical injury by a person who has care, custody, or control of a child. The definition contains two key aspects, the act is intentional or willful, and/or the act resulted in physical injury. Accidental does not qualify as child abuse. (Wallace,29)
Physical abused children do not fit any type of stereotype. Abuse occurs in all neighborhoods. Also, abusers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and sexes. There are many signs of physical abuse.
First the location and types of injuries, many time the parent or care takers will deny any wrong doing or the child has suffered any physical injury. There are always those injuries that consist of a normal childhood upbringing, such as falling of their bike or bumping their head. Then, there are those which they cannot be explained. When caretakers deny any injuries or have no knowledge of an injury, there is a very strong likely hood that physical abuse exists. Here are some of the signs of physical abuse.
Bruises happen for various of accidental reasons. There are also bruises that are tell tale signs of abuse. Bruises have a time clock that can tell when it happened. Also, the location of the bruise can tell a story. Bruises on the front part of the body are often signs of normal bruises from just falling ECT. Bruises found on the back of the arm, leg, lower back, the butt and genital are suspicious bruises and often questioned bruises. Patterned bruising is also a sign of abuse. Normal bruises are in various shapes and sizes. While some bruises that are a patterned show strong signs of abuse. These are bruises that have definite boundaries and sharp and curved edges. For example rope, rulers, hand prints and so on. (wallace,38)
Burns are also a sign of abuse. Burns are patterned like bruises. These burns would have sharp edges and spots that were spared from flexation. Water immersion burns are common signs of child abuse usually caused by a caretaker holding the child in the water. Also patterned burns which are burns caused by pressing hot objects on the child bodies.(wallace,42)
Another sign of abuse is fractures. These types of fractures are signs of abuse. Spiral fractures are usually breaks in the humerus or femur resulting from twisting of the limb. Head and internal injuries are often signs of abuse. Such as occasion, whiplash or shaken baby syndrome are examples of head injuries. Chest and abdominal injuries are common in abuse. This is caused by hitting or grasping a child.(Wallace,43)
Sexual abuse is defined as the sexual exploitation or sexual activities of children. A child under these circumstances will indicate that the child's health or welfare is harmed or threatened. Intra familial sexual abuse includes incest and refers any type of exploitative sexual contact between relatives.
There are many physical indicators of sexual abuse. Here are some examples of physical indicators: difficulty in walking or sitting, torn, stained or bloody underwear, bleeding, bruising and itching around the genitals and anal. Frequent urinary tract or yeast infections. Pain on urination and so on. There are no pattern or causes of conduct that leads to sexual abusers.(wallace,58 and 63)