Physical and Emotional Child Abuse and Neglect: the Effect on Physical, Emotional, and Social Development

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In America, more than five children die every day due to abuse. A broad definition for child abuse is defined by, “purposeful and serious injury inflicted upon a child by a caregiver” (Child Welfare Information Gateway). This in turn is broken down into four categories: neglect, physical, sexual, and emotional about. The abuse that is most frequent is child neglect. Neglect is different from abuse, as it is a failure to provide the basic needs of a child. It is considered neglect if the child lacks shelter, safety, or nutrition. Failure to attend to a child’s needs for affection, or not giving the child an education is also neglect. The impact of these actions won’t show up at first, unless it’s severe enough. It’s known and proven that the first few years of a child’s life are crucial to their development. Physical problems that arise from neglect include, “…failure to thrive… recurrent and persistent minor infections, malnourishment, and impaired brain development”. Without the required nutrients, a child will not develop as quickly or as well as a child that was not raised with neglect. When the brain doesn’t develop correctly, this impairs emotional and cognitive health. Maltreated children learn to, “adapt to day-to-day survival, but may not allow the child to develop fully healthy cognitive and social skills” (Child Welfare Information Gateway). Physical abuse of a child has devastating effects not only on the body, but also the mind. With physical abuse comes bruises, cuts, fractures, and internal injuries. If the physical abuse goes on long enough, the child will get long-term disabilities such as hearing loss or brain damage. Age plays a factor also in the effects physical abuse has. Infants are susceptible to neurological changes such as, “…irritability, lethargy, tremors, and vomiting…may experience seizures, permanent blindness or deafness, mental and developmental delays or retardation…” (How Does Physical Abuse Impact a Child)....
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