By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.
Child abuse can be categorized into four types. Child abuse is often found in combination of these types, i.e. a child who is sexually abused might be emotionally abused as well, or a physically abused child might be neglected. Following are the four types of child abuse:
1. Physical Abuse: A child is being physically abused if he/she has been hit with hands, belts, bat, and so on, or pinched so hard that the mark won't go away. The child is physically abused if he/she is kicked, choked, punched, pushed against the walls or thrown on the floor, burned with a cigarette, cigarette lighter, iron, or bitten so hard that it creates a wound on the skin.
2. Sexual Abuse: A child is being sexually abused if he/she is being touched inappropriately which involves touching private parts in a way that it hurts or makes the child uncomfortable. The child is also being sexually abused if someone makes the child touch his/her private parts, taking photographs or video of the child in nude and/or touching his/her private parts or of someone else.
3. Emotional Abuse: A child is being emotionally abused if, someone calls the child mean names or makes incessant fun of the child, makes statements such as the child is worthless, stupid or a 'mistake', constantly tells the child that they wish the child was never born.
4. Neglect: A child is suffering from neglect if he/she is hungry all the time and is deprived of food, and if the child is sick by not taking the child to the doctor or not giving medications. A child is neglected if he/she is not given enough appropriate clothes, if he/she is left alone in the house, or locked up in a room for long period of time.
More than 2.5 million cases of child abuse and neglect are reported each year. Of these, 35 percent involve physical abuse, 15 percent involve sexual abuse and 50 percent involve neglect.
Children who have been mistreated are often afraid to tell anyone because they fear that either they themselves will be blamed or that no one will believe them. A child who has been abused needs special support and treatment as early as possible. The longer he continues to be abused or is left to deal with the situation on his own, the less likely he is to make a full recovery.
If you notice any unusual changes in the body, behavior or attitude of your child, you should be concerned. If you suspect your child has been abused, get help immediately through your pediatrician or a local child protective agency. Do not deny the problem as it will only make the matters worse.
Child abuse can be prevented if the parents are well-informed and responsible. Prevention efforts help parents develop their parenting skills, understand the benefits of nonviolent discipline techniques, and understand and meet their child's emotional, physical, and developmental needs. Listen to your child and read the body language. Your child might withdraw and not want to talk about what has happened to him/her.
However, it is your duty to report the incident and seek therapy so that it does not leave long term effect on your child's mind.
Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center, http://www.startingadaycarecenter.com.