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12.6B: Child Abuse

  • Page ID
    8323
  • Child abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment, or neglect of a child.

     

    LEARNING OBJECTIVES

     

    Analyze the differences between and prevalence of each type of abuse against children

     

    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    Key Points

     

    • Physical abuse involves physical aggression directed at a child by an adult.
    • Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation.
    • Neglect is a passive form of abuse in which a perpetrator is responsible to provide care for a victim who is unable to care for himself or herself, but fails to provide adequate care.
    • Emotional abuse includes things such as name-calling, ridicule, degradation, destruction of personal belongings, torture or killing of a pet, etc.

     

    Key Terms

     

    • child abuse: The physical, sexual, or emotional mistreatment of a child.
    • Child Sexual Abuse: A form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation.

    Child abuse is the physical, sexual, or emotional mistreatment or neglect of a child or children. Different jurisdictions have developed their own definitions of what constitutes child abuse for the purposes of removing a child from his/her family and/or prosecuting a criminal charge. There are four major categories of child abuse: neglect, physical abuse, psychological/emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. Neglect is the most common type of abuse in the United States and accounts for over 60 percent of child abuse cases.

     

    Physical Abuse

     

    Physical abuse involves physical aggression directed at a child by an adult. Most nations with child-abuse laws consider the deliberate infliction of serious injuries, or actions that place the child at obvious risk of serious injury or death, to be illegal. Beyond this, there is considerable variation. The distinction between child discipline and abuse is often poorly defined. Cultural norms about what constitutes abuse vary widely among professionals as well as the wider public. Some professionals claim that cultural norms that sanction physical punishment are one of the causes of child abuse, and have undertaken campaigns to redefine such norms.

     

    Sexual Abuse

     

    Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation. Effects of child sexual abuse include guilt and self-blame, flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, and fear of things associated with the abuse. Approximately 15 percent to 25 percent of women and 5 percent to 15 percent of men were sexually abused when they were children.

     

    Emotional Abuse

     

    Out of all the possible forms of abuse, emotional abuse is the hardest to define. It could include name-calling, ridicule, degradation, destruction of personal belongings, torture or killing of a pet, excessive criticism, inappropriate or excessive demands, withholding communication, and routine labeling or humiliation.

     

    Neglect

     

    Neglect is a passive form of abuse in which a perpetrator is responsible to provide care for a victim who is unable to care for himself or herself, but fails to provide adequate care. Neglect may include the failure to provide sufficient supervision, nourishment, or medical care, or the failure to fulfill other needs for which the victim is helpless to provide for himself or herself. The term is also applied when necessary care is withheld by those responsible for providing it from animals, plants, and even inanimate objects. Neglect can have many long-term side effects, such as physical injuries, low self-esteem, attention disorders, violent behavior, and even death. In the U.S., neglect is defined as the failure to meet the basic needs of children: housing, clothing, food, and access to medical care. Researchers found over 91,000 cases of neglect in one year using information from a database of cases verified by protective services agencies.

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    Child Abuse: Child abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment, or neglect of a child.