Types of child abuse, neglect, and maltreatment of children

Child abuse is an act or set of acts resulting in physical, psychological, sexual, or any other harm or potential harm to a child. According to the United States Federal and State Law’s definition of child abuse and neglect – types of child maltreatment are:

-Physical abuse: deliberate physical harm or injury to the child. Many parents who physically abuse their children do it under the false pretense they’re simply disciplining kids. However, the difference between teaching kids right from wrong and severe physical abuse is an abusive parent lashes out in uncontrolled anger and aggression and/or acts from a desire to assert control instead of teaching the child about right behavior.  Disciplining a child involves a set of rules or boundaries appropriate for the child’s age and condition, while physical abuse is an unpredictable burst of anger causing children to constantly live in fear of their parent’s aggression.

-Emotional abuse: damaging a child’s psychological stability resulting in severe and observable emotional, behavioral, or cognitive changes. These changes are often lifelong and include depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, aggression, and usually result in drug and alcohol abuse and other forms of juvenile delinquency or high risk behavior. Emotional abuse of children  includes things like humiliating, telling a child she is  worthless or dumb, belittling, threatening, ignoring (the silent treatment), or isolating them from normal social interactions, etc.

-Neglect: neglecting to provide basic needs for a child, like food, clothing, hygiene, medical care, shelter, etc. Although this is the most common form of child abuse, signs of child neglect (unlike the signs of physical abuse) are not easy to recognize right away.  With time, children learn how to pretend and hide the real situation at home, often taking the role of a parent, especially in cases where parents become unable to further care for their kids (anxiety, depression, other psychological conditions, alcohol or drug abuse, etc.). Children abused by neglect can develop long-lasting, mental, emotional, and behavioral disabilities, in some cases even death.

-Sexual abuse and exploitation of children: exposing a child to a sexual act, situation, or material, whether it includes physical contact or not. Sexual exploitation of children is engaging children in child pornography production or prostitution. Out of all forms of child abuse, this one is most complicated to recognize. Sexually abused kids usually suffer from severe shame and guilt, acting as if they are guilty for what’s happening to them.  The consequences of such strong torment are difficult to overcome and child victims of sexual abuse develop long-term psychological problems. Sexual abuse of children is the most frequent reason why kids run away from home.

Child abuse statistics

During last decade in United States, each year around 700,000 children suffer from some form of abuse.

Each day, 4 children under age of 14 die from child abuse.

46% of homeless juveniles have run away from home to escape some form of abuse.

53.6% of abusing parents are females.

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