5 Ways to Spot Child Abuse

5 Ways to Spot Child Abuse

child abuseChildren

Child abuse is a tragedy of the utmost magnitude. Indeed, the act of violence against children tears away innocence from a child’s heart and mind.

In fact, the problem is widespread. So we’re going to focus on ways that you can spot a child who is living this nightmare. Let’s start by defining what it is and the current state of this criminal act is in the world. Additionally, we’ll see how we can prevent these atrocious acts.

First, let’s define child abuse and then get into the numbers.

What is child abuse?

Child abuse can an act of commission or omission. This act results from either direct participation or neglect. Unfortunately, most of these terrible cases involve either one or both parents or a caregiver. 

Forms of violence against children include emotional abuse, exploitation, neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. 

Physical abuse

Physical abuse involves any deliberate physical action that results in injury to a child. Examples of physical abuse include: biting, burning, choking, hair pulling, kicking, shoving, striking, throwing, or whipping.

Unfortunately, physical abuse may result in:

– blisters, bruises, burns, and cuts.

– broken bones.

– dislocated joints.

– emotional or psychological scarring.

– internal injuries.

– lifelong injury or death.

Over 28 percent of adults report that they experienced physical abuse as a child.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves the use of a child for direct sexual exploitation by an adult. Moreover, children may also commit actions of child abuse. For example, they may use their age or physical strength as leverage against smaller children.

Types of sexual abuse include fondling, non-direct exploitation, oral sex, and penetrations. Additionally, they include child pornography, child prostitution, forced viewing of a sex act, inappropriate sexual communication.

Sexual abuse may result in:

– Acts of self-harm, including cutting, burning, or pulling out hair. 

– Delinquent behaviors.

Eating disorders such as anorexia.

– Excessive masturbation.

– Feelings of aggression.

– Psychological disorders, such as anxiety, depression, or suicidal ideations.

Twenty-one percent of adults report they experienced sexual abuse themselves.

Emotional abuse

When a parent, caregiver, or another person harms a child’s emotional, mental, or social development, it’s emotional abuse. This method of abuse is often continuous. And the effects are usually gradual.

Acts of emotional abuse include attempts to corrupt, isolation, rejection or ignoring, shaming, and manipulation.

Emotional abuse may result in:

– bedwetting

– developmental delays

– disorders of speech

– health problems such as skin disorders or ulcers

– obesity and weight fluctuation

Approximately 11 percent of adults report being abused emotionally as a child.

Child neglect

Child neglect involves continuous acts of omission. These include failing to provide the affection, care, supervision, and support necessary for a child to develop both mental and physical health and stability.

Acts of child neglect include educational neglect, emotional neglect, inadequate supervision, medical neglect, and physical neglect.

For example, let’s look at educational neglect. Of course, this term refers to allowing the child to miss excessive time from school. However, it can also include refusing necessary special education services and failing to enroll a child in school or a home-schooling program.

Child neglect may result in:

– psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression

– sleeping difficulties, including insomnia

– stunting of physical development (height and weight, especially)

– undiagnosed and untreated medical conditions

– not being immunized

Child abuse: the numbers

“Every year, more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States.” ~ Childhelp (source)

Indeed, child abuse is an epidemic. The definition of an epidemic is “a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.” And make no mistake: child abuse is an infectious disease. One that stains the very fabric of our society. 

So, while we are in definition mode, let’s define infectious: “likely to be transmitted to people, organisms, etc., through the environment.” It’s a known fact that victims of child abuse are much more likely to become abusers themselves. 

Also, note that there is a flip side to the above statement. Some victims of child abuse go on to become passionate and influential advocates of anti-abuse movements. Therefore, our society is greatly indebted to these people.

So there isn’t any statistic that could accurately reflect the cumulative damage – on a societal or individual level – that child abuse inflicts. However, the numbers are somewhat helpful in understanding just how pervasive a problem it is. 

Per the American Society for the Positive Care of Children (American SPCC):

– 4.1 million reports of child abuse in 2017. These reports include a total of 7.5 million children.

– 75 percent of child victims experienced neglect.

– Nearly 40 percent were physically abused, sexually abused, or psychologically mistreated.

– 25.3 percent of child abuse victims were under the age of 1

– 1,720 children died from child abuse in 2017. The actual number may be 50-60 percent higher.

– 5 children die every day from child abuse.

– 72 percent of child abuse deaths were children under the age of 3 years.

The consequences of child abuse:

– Abused teens are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors. As a result, this puts them at risk of STDs.

– 80 percent of child abuse victims meet the criteria for at least one psychological disorder.

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