FACT– Child abuse occurs at every socio-economic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education. Although there are many formal and acceptable definitions of child abuse, the following is offered as a guide.
Child abuse consists of any act of commission or omission that endangers or impairs a child’s physical or emotional health and development. Child abuse includes any damage done to a child that cannot be reasonably explained and is often represented by an injury, or series of injuries, appearing to be non-accidental in nature.
Did You Know?
Sexual Abuse is any sexual act between an adult and a child and includes fondling, penetration, intercourse, exploitation, pornography, exhibitionism, child prostitution, group sex, oral sex or forced observation of sexual acts.
Physical Abuse is any non-accidental injury to a child that involves hitting, kicking, slapping, shaking, burning, pinching, hair pulling, biting, choking, throwing, shoving, whipping or paddling.
Neglect Abuse is failure to provide for a child’s physical needs relating to lack of supervision, inappropriate housing or shelter, inadequate food provision, inappropriate clothing for season or weather, abandonment, denial of medical care, and inadequate hygiene.
Emotional Abuse is any attitude or behavior that interferes with a child’s mental health or social development and may take the form of yelling, screaming, name calling, shaming, negative comparisons to others or by telling a child that he/she is “bad, no good, worthless or a mistake”. Other forms of emotional abuse also manifest itself in the failure to provide the affection and support necessary for the development of a child’s emotional, social, physical and intellectual well-being, such as ignoring, lack of appropriate physical affection (hugs), not saying “I love you,” withdrawal of attention, lack of praise and lack of positive reinforcement.
Domestic Violence is characterized as a pattern of coercive behaviors that result in repeated beatings or threats of violence, verbal and psychological abuse, forced sex, deprivation, control of family possessions, and progressive isolation.
There is a strong correlation between domestic violence and child abuse and vice versa. When there is abuse in the home each family member may be impacted directly or indirectly.
- There are more than 42 million survivors of sexual abuse in America.
- 1 in 3 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.
- 1 in 5 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.
- 1 in 5 children are solicited sexually while on the Internet before the age of 18.
- 30% of sexual abuse is never reported.
- Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children age 17 and under.
- 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way.
- Approximately 20% of the victims of sexual abuse are under age eight.
- 95% of sexual abuse is preventable through education.
- 38% of the sexual abusers of boys are female.
- There is long-lasting, emotional damage when a child’s sexual abuse starts before the age of six, and lasts for several years. Among child and teen victims of sexual abuse, S there is a 42 percent increased chance of suicidal thoughts during adolescence.
Common Effects of Abuse on Children:
- Feelings of sadness or depression
- Difficulties concentrating in school and increased truancy
- Significant anxiety, a heightened startle response, hyper-vigilance
- Inconsolable crying in infants and feeding problems
- Attachment problems
- Aggression with angry outbursts
- An increase in oppositional behavior or tantrums
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
- Feelings of guilt or shame about the abuse
- Bed-wetting or soiling during the daytime
- Clinginess and anxiety about separating from caregiver
- Developmental delays or regression to earlier stages of development
- Low self-esteem and poor self-concept
- Withdrawal from friends or family
- Play in which the child re-enacts some part of the traumatic experience
- Recurrent stomach aches or headaches that cannot be medically explained
- Avoidance of traumatic reminders
- Substance use or self-harming behavior
- Sexual knowledge, language or behaviors that are inappropriate for the child’s age.