The Issue of Child Abuse

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Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States. It’s a terrible epidemic that we at Childhelp are dedicated to put an end to. To do this, we need to first increase awareness of the issue itself.

What is child abuse? Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. There are many forms of child maltreatment, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, and emotional abuse.

Physical abuse of a child is when a parent or caregiver causes any non-accidental physical injury to a child. There are many signs of physical abuse. If you see any of the following signs, please get help right away.

The Issue of Child Abuse

28.3% of adults report being physically abused as a child

Physical abuse includes striking, kicking, burning, biting, hair pulling, choking, throwing, shoving, whipping or any other action that injures a child. Even if the caregiver didn’t mean to cause injury, when the child is injured it is abuse. Physical discipline from a parent that does not injure or impair a child is not considered abuse; however non-violent alternatives are always available.

Physical abuse can result in:

  • Bruises, blisters, burns, cuts and scratches
  • Internal injuries, brain damage
  • Broken bones, sprains, dislocated joints
  • Emotional and psychological harm
  • Lifelong injury, death

Signs of physical abuse in parent or caregiver:

  • Can’t or won’t explain injury of child, or explains it in a way that doesn’t make sense
  • Displays aggression to child or is overly anxious about child’s behavior
  • Indicates child is not trustworthy, a liar, evil, a troublemaker
  • Delays or prevents medical care for child
  • Takes child to different doctors or hospitals
  • Keeps child from school, church, clubs
  • Has history of violence and/or abuse

Signs of physical abuse in a child:

Physical:

  • Any injury to a child who is not crawling yet
  • Visible and severe injuries
  • Injuries at different stages of healing
  • On different surfaces of the body
  • Unexplained or explained in a way that doesn’t make sense
  • Distinctive shape
  • Frequency, timing and history of injuries (frequent, after weekends, vacations, school absences)

Behavioral:

  • Aggression toward peers, pets, other animals
  • Seems afraid of parents or other adults
  • Fear, withdrawal, depression, anxiety
  • Wears long sleeves out of season
  • Violent themes in fantasy, art, etc.
  • Nightmares, insomnia
  • Reports injury, severe discipline
  • Immaturity, acting out, emotional and behavior extremes
  • Self-destructive behavior or attitudes