Child Abuse


Maltreatment of children is not a new phenomenon. It dates back far
into history, as far as the colonial times and even back to biblical times.
During the recent years child maltreatment has had an increase in the publics
eye. There are many factors to child maltreatment. There are four general
categories of child maltreatment now recognized. They are physical abuse,
sexual abuse, neglect and emotional maltreatment. Each category, in turn,
covers a range of behavior. The maltreatment of children not only affects the
children themselves, but also affects the family intern making it dysfunctional.


Physical Abuse

Physical abuse may be best defined as any non-accidental physical injury
by a person who has care, custody, or control of a child. The definition
contains two key aspects, the act is intentional or willful, and/or the act
resulted in physical injury. Accidental does not qualify as child abuse.
(Wallace,29)

Physical abused children do not fit any type of stereotype. Abuse
occurs in all neighborhoods. Also, abusers come in all shapes, sizes, colors,
and sexes. There are many signs of physical abuse.

First the location and types of injuries, many time the parent or care
takers will deny any wrong doing or the child has suffered any physical injury.
There are always those injuries that consist of a normal childhood upbringing,
such as falling of their bike or bumping their head. Then, there are those
which they cannot be explained. When caretakers deny any injuries or have no
knowledge of an injury, there is a very strong likely hood that physical abuse
exists. Here are some of the signs of physical abuse.

Bruises happen for various of accidental reasons. There are also
bruises that are tell tale signs of abuse. Bruises have a time clock that can
tell when it happened. Also, the location of the bruise can tell a story.
Bruises on the front part of the body are often signs of normal bruises from
just falling ECT. Bruises found on the back of the arm, leg, lower back, the
butt and genital are suspicious bruises and often questioned bruises. Patterned
bruising is also a sign of abuse. Normal bruises are in various shapes and
sizes. While some bruises that are a patterned show strong signs of abuse.
These are bruises that have definite boundaries and sharp and curved edges. For
example rope, rulers, hand prints and so on. (wallace,38)

Burns are also a sign of abuse. Burns are patterned like bruises.
These burns would have sharp edges and spots that were spared from flexation.
Water immersion burns are common signs of child abuse usually caused by a
caretaker holding the child in the water. Also patterned burns which are burns
caused by pressing hot objects on the child bodies.(wallace,42)

Another sign of abuse is fractures. These types of fractures are signs
of abuse. Spiral fractures are usually breaks in the humerus or femur resulting
from twisting of the limb. Head and internal injuries are often signs of abuse.
Such as occasion, whiplash or shaken baby syndrome are examples of head injuries.
Chest and abdominal injuries are common in abuse. This is caused by hitting or
grasping a child.(Wallace,43)

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is defined as the sexual exploitation or sexual activities
of children. A child under these circumstances will indicate that the child\'s
health or welfare is harmed or threatened. Intra familial sexual abuse includes
incest and refers any type of exploitative sexual contact between relatives.

There are many physical indicators of sexual abuse. Here are some
examples of physical indicators: difficulty in walking or sitting, torn, stained
or bloody underwear, bleeding, bruising and itching around the genitals and anal.
Frequent urinary tract or yeast infections. Pain on urination and so on. There
are no pattern or causes of conduct that leads to sexual abusers.(wallace,58 and
63)

Child Neglect

The definition of child neglect is the treatment or maltreatment of a
child by a parent or caretaker under circumstances indicating harm or threatened
harm to the child\'s health or welfare. There are many theories of child neglect
from poverty to non-fit parents. There are also many indications to child
neglect.(Wallace,82)

Some of the physical indicators are poor growth, constant hunger and
malnutrition. Poor body odor and hygiene, lice and inappropriate clothing.
Constant fatigue. Constant lack of supervision and unexplained bruises or
injuries as result of poor supervision. Unattended physical problems or medical
needs, such as lack of proper immunizations, gross dental problems, need glasses
or hearing aids.

Emotional neglect

Emotional neglect is the constant act or omission which is judged by the
community standers and professional expertise to be psychologically damaging to
the child. Rejecting the child is one form of