Child Abuse and Maltreatment

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Child abuse is a global problem, which unfortunately happens in every society, culture and communities. The term “Child Abuse” refers to intended acts that result in physical or emotional harm to children. Child abuse covers a wide range of behavior from physical assault by parents or other adult caretakers to neglect of child’s basic need. Child abuse is a social problem that affects millions of children each year, children less than 3 years of age being the most frequent victims. (Edelman & Mandle, 2010) For this article, the author chose to discuss child abuse and maltreatment in preschool age children. There are many forms of child abuse such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and abandonment/ separation. In this age most common abuses are physical, sexual, emotional and negligence. As a health care provider when we are assessing a case of child abuse, we always need to check the background of the child’s family child, by checking parenting skills of caretakers, employment and education status of the parents, financial conditions at home and environment of the house (safe and clean for the child). We also need to check for any history of drug and alcohol abuse among family members, care taker’s personal limitations and certain cognitive or medical conditions (such as mental retardation or depression) of care takers, all these can effect child’s care tremendously. (Jarvis, 2011) Signs and symptoms nurses need to check for when they are assessing a preschool child for abuse are as follows: Physical Child abuse: Child has unexplained recurrent injuries, burns, fractures, bruises and bald patches. Child shows sign of fear and hesitation during physical exam (he is trying to pull himself away from examiner). Child has difficult time concentrating and shows self-destruction tendencies & aggression towards others. Child is wary of adults and injuries on the body are inconsistent with the child's age and developmental phase....
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