"The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act" states' that "child abuse is the leading cause of death in children under the age of eighteen." Child abuse occurs when adults inflict violence and cruelty upon children. Abuse is any willful act that results in physical, mental, or sexual injury that causes or is likely to cause the child to be physically, mental, or emotionally impaired. Abuse happens to children of any age, sex, race, religion, and social status.
There are many different types of child abuse. There is maltreatment and sexual abuse. Maltreatment is an area that encompasses many different things, such as physical abuse, child neglect, and emotional abuse. Physical abuse may begin with "shaken baby syndrome" and escalate to routine spanking, stabbing, punching, hitting, beating, biting, burning, and any other thing that harms a child. The adult doing this may not intend to cause harm, but it is still abuse. Physical abuse may lead to brain damage, disfigurement, blindness, and even death. An average of 5.5 children per 10,000 enrolled in a day care are sexually abused. In the United States more than 125,000 children suffer injuries intentionally inflicted by their caretaker, and between 2,000 and 5,000 of these children die as a result of their injuries. In 1994 3.4 million cases of child abuse were reported.
Child neglect is when a caregiver fails to give a child the care, and the supervision they need to stay physically and mentally healthy. Child neglect is when parents or the caregivers fail to provide for the children's basic needs such as clothing, food, shelter, and so on. Child neglect takes many forms such as physical, educational, and emotional neglect. Physical neglect can be seen as a refusal or delay to provide medical attention to a child. If an infant or child is not bathed or kept clean, this is physical neglect. Abandonment, kicking a minor out of the house, lack of parental supervision, leaving the child unattended, or not allowing a runaway to return home may also be seen as physical neglect. Educational neglect includes allowing your child to become truant, not enrolling them in school, or depriving them of special education classes if they need it. Along with their physical needs, children also have emotional needs. All children should have a safe and stable home environment where they are loved and nurtured. To deprive a child of this is emotional neglect. Emotional neglect can occur when there is spousal abuse in a child's presence, or there is permission for the child to use drugs/alcohol, and a refusal for psychological care.
With neglect the child may become delinquent, turn to alcohol/drugs, steal, or develop neurotic traits like sleeping disorders. They may also exhibit extreme behavior patterns like infantile or adult like behavior. Some indicators of neglect may be consistent hunger, poor hygiene, truancy, abandonment, and a lack of physical development.
Emotional abuse may include screaming, yelling, biting, name-calling, lack of love/affection, and so on. Children may be emotionally scarred when the y are labeled as stupid, ugly, crazy, or unwanted. Emotional abuse includes acts of omission by the child's primary caregivers that could cause behavioral, emotional, or mental disorders. In some cases of emotional abuse the child's caregiver may use excessive and bizarre forms of punishment like torture, or locking a child in a dark closet. These things emphasize the need for the intervention of The Child Protective Services.
Besides emotional abuse, physical abuse and neglect there is also sexual abuse. Studies show that 1 out of every 4 children will be the victim of sexual abuse before reaching 18. Sexual abuse can be physical, verbal, or emotional. There are many different types of sexual abuse. A stranger does not always commit the sexual abuse of a child; most often an adult that the child trusts commits the abuse. Sexual abuse...
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Calam, Rachel. Child Abuse and its consequences: observational approaches. Cambridge, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press, 1987.
Hopper, Jim, Ph.D. Child Abuse: Statistics, Research, and Resources. http: www.jimhopper.com/abstats/
Martina, Harold P. The Abused Child: a multidisciplinary approach to developmental issues and treatment. Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger Pub. Co., 1976.
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