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Child Abuse

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Child Abuse

Child abuse is defined as any act or failure to act that endangers a child's physical or emotional health and development. Someone caring for a child is abusive if he or she fails to nurture, physically injures, or relates sexually to the child. There are four main types of child abuse. They are: neglect, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Abusing a child in any of these ways or more will affect their emotional and social development. It is also believed that abused children are more likely to become abusive parents, therefore starting a cycle of abuse. (Martin)

Child Abuse is not as rare as it used to be. Federal data shows that about 900,000 cases of child abuse are reported each year. 60% are from neglect, 20% are physical, 10% are sexual, and 7% are emotional. Out of all the abuse caused, about 80% is done by parents, 7% by other family members, and 13% by strangers (Wetzstein). Physical abuse is the most commonly known type of abuse. It is any physical injury to a child that is not an accident. This injury may be the result of any attack on a child's body, such as: beating, whipping, slapping, or hitting. Also, pushing, shoving, shaking, choking, burning with cigarettes or other hot objects, or any severe physical punishment that is inappropriate to child's age (Martin).

Physical punishment can be told apart from physical abuse in that physical punishment is the use of physical force with the intent of causing bodily pain (but not injury) in order to fix or control a child. Physical abuse is an injury that results from physical violence. On the other hand, physical punishment can easily get out of control and can become physical abuse. Physical punishment is against the law in schools in some states, but not in others (Wetzstein). In many families, physical punishment is normal. Hundreds of thousands of children are physically abused each year by someone close to them, and thousands of children die from those injuries. For those who do not die from the abuse, the emotional scars are deeper than the physical ones (Martin).

Besides physical abuse, sexual abuse of a child is the talked about any sexual act between an adult and a child or a child with another child. This includes: fondling, touching, kissing a child's genitals, making the child fondle the adult's genitals, penetration, intercourse, incest, rape, oral sex, sodomy, exposing the child to adult sexuality in other forms (showing sex organs to a child, forced observation of sexual acts, showing pornographic material, or sexual exploitation. These acts are considered child abuse when committed by a guardian or somebody who knows the child. If a stranger does it then it is called sexual assault (Martin).

Emotional abuse can be either verbal, mental, or psychological. Emotional abuse can range from ingnoring, lack of physical attention, yelling or screaming, threatening, shaming, name- calling, or extreme or bizarre forms of punishment. Emotional abuse can also come from bullying or social cliques in schools (Mills).

Neglect is a failure to provide for the child's basic needs. The types of neglect are: physical, educational, and emotional. Physical neglect could be lack of food or clothing, abandonment, denial or medical care. Educational neglect would be the failure to provide a child with education. Emotional neglect could be things like failing to attend to a child's needs, domestic violence or drug and alcohol abuse in a child's presence. There are many things in common between emotional abuse and emotion neglect, but no matter what, they are still forms of child abuse (Mills).




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