Child Abuse Prevention

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Child Abuse Prevention

I. What is child abuse?

Child abuse is a very sensitive issue that needs to by carefully handled. Child abuse is defined as a no accidental injury or pattern of injures to a child for which there is no reasonable explanation.

Child abuse consists of different types of harmful acts directed toward children. In physical abuse, children are slapped, hit, kicked or pushed, or have objects thrown at them causing wounds, broken bones, or other injuries. Severe abuse may result in major injury, permanent physical or developmental damage, or even death. Emotional abuse involves humiliation, dishonoring or other acts carried out over time that terrorize or frighten the child. Sexual abuse consists of a wide range of sexual behavior, including fondling, masturbation and intercourse. Sexual abuse can also involve children in pornography. Neglect, form of child maltreatment, involves the failure to feed or care for a child's basic needs or to adequately supervise the child.

Child abuse usually is not a single act of physical abuse, neglect or molestation, but is typically a repeated pattern of behavior. A child abuser is most often a parent, stepparent, or caretaker of a child. He or she can be found in all cultural, ethnic, occupational and socio-economic groups.

Indications of child abuse or causes of child abuse

There is no one single cause of child abuse, but there are certain common factors often present among the families where abuse occurs. This section discusses some of the common features of the homes, children and perpetrators of child abuse. This does not mean these factors are always present, or that if they are present, they will always lead to abuse.

Profile of homes where children were killed.
Perpetrators most often male
AFDC main source of support
Caretakers not married to each other
Drug or alcohol use
Criminal history that includes a violent crime
Victim was youngest sibling
Domestic violence in house
Previous abuse of the child

"Triggers"

Child Death Review Teams in Colorado and Oregon have identified some "triggers" that occurred just before many children's death from abuse infant's inconsolable crying
feeding difficulties
failed potty training
parents have exaggerated view of "disobedience"

Who is a child abuser?
Have been abused as a child - a life pattern of aggression and violence has been established. Can be found in all cultural, ethnic occupational, religious and socio-economic groups and sexes Have expectations too high for the child's age

Be angry with the child
Not know the best way to discipline the child
Uses abuse as a form of power
Not be satisfied with schoolwork
Have problems with employer or mate
Have financial troubles
Have a history of violence
Be immature
Have a cynical and distrustful personality
Be impulsive
Be isolated
Be unhappy with themselves
Have drug or alcohol addiction
Feel justified in their action or feels it was appropriate
Be depressed or have mental health problems
Possess few coping skills
Wants personal satisfaction over seeing to child's needs
May be a pedophile
Lives near or below poverty level

Behaviors that MAY be seen in a sexually abusive person.
Drug or alcohol abuse or other addictive behavior
Mood changes
Last to go to bed, or up during the night
Sexual preoccupation
Views child pornography
Cruising
Exhibitionism
Seeks out relationships with children over adults
Erratic discipline
Prolonging physical contact with children…wrestling, tickling, bathing Walks in on child while bathing or using the toilet
Interferes with child's normal friendships
Relates to the child with sexual undertones or manner

The emotionally abusive parent/caretaker.
Has unrealistic expectations of the child - developmentally, educationally or emotionally Enforces unusual penalties or vaguely sinister punishment - it is one thing to place...
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