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Child Abuse



Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver causes death, injury, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child through action or failure to act. There are many different types of child abuse including, but not limited to, physical, emotional, sexual, and/or neglect. 

It’s important to know that child abuse can be physical or non-physical. 

Physical Abuse occurs when a parent/caregiver causes physical injury to a child’s body. It can be a result of hitting, biting, pushing, pinching, whipping, kicking, ect. This kind of abuse often leaves visible signs of the incident such as bruises, blisters, broken bones, and scratches. 

Children who have been physically abused can also show signs of aggression towards peers or pets, may seem withdrawn or extremely shy, be afraid of adults, or afraid to go home. They may also suffer from nightmares, insomnia, or anxiety.

Sexual Abuse is when any adult uses a child for sexual gratification or involves a child in sexual acts. This includes intercourse, penetration of any kind, exposing a child to pornography or creating pornography using a child, fondling genitals, frottage (rubbing against someone for sexual pleasure), exposing oneself to children or any other type of sexual contact with a child.  

Physical signs of child sexual abuse include: difficulty walking or sitting, bruises or soreness near genitals, and/or frequent urinary tract infections.

Behavioral signs of child sexual abuse include: preoccupation with their body, eating disorders, sexual knowledge beyond what is age appropriate, substance abuse, lack of sleep, fall in grades, extremely sexualized behaviors/play. 

1 out of 4 girls & 1 out of 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.

Emotional Abuse is when a parent/caregiver harms a child’s mental & social development. While one incident may not be considered abusive, a repetitive pattern can cause serious long-term damage to a child. Examples of emotional abuse include telling a child they are not wanted, ignoring a child, threatening to harm or kill a child, threatening to kill a child’s loved one or pet, terrorizing the child, confining a child to a small room or area, or isolating a child. 

Signs of emotional abuse in a child may include: delayed development, speech impediments, overly compliant or defensive, anxiety, extreme fears, or sleep disorders/nightmares, 

Neglect is when a parent/caregiver fails to provide a child with the care and support that they need. This includes food, water, shelter, and safety.

Some examples of neglect include: deserting a child that is in your care, failing to provide enough food/ water, failing to seek medical attention on a child’s behalf, not enrolling a child in school, exposing a child to an unsafe environment

Signs of neglect include: clothing that is the wrong size or dirty, stockpiling food or extreme hunger, exhaustion, hygienic issues, low body weight, or untreated medical issues.

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