Adverse Childhood Experiences: Considering Abuse

Child abuse is the willful infliction of pain and suffering on children through physical, sexual, or emotional mistreatment. The term child abuse normally referred to only physical mistreatment, but since then its application has expanded to include, in addition to inordinate physical violence, unjustifiable verbal abuse; the failure to furnish proper shelter, nourishment, medical treatment, or emotional support; incest and other cases of sexual molestation or rape; and the use of children in prostitution or pornography.

We are going to consider three types of abuse:

1)Physical abuse: This occurs when a child’s body is injured as a result of hitting, kicking, shaking, burning or other show of force. One study suggests that about 1 in 20 children has been physically abused in their lifetime.

2)Sexual abuse: This is any sexual activity that a child cannot understand or consent to. It includes acts such as fondling, oral-genital contact and genital and anal intercourse. It also includes exhibitionism, voyeurism, and exposure to pornography. Studies suggest that up to one in five girls and one in 20 boys will be sexually abused before they are 18 years old. More than 90 percent of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser.

3) Emotional abuse: This abuse involves controlling another person by using emotions to criticize, embarrass, shame, blame, or otherwise manipulate them.The underlying goal of emotional abuse is to control the other person by discrediting, isolating, and silencing them. It is one of the hardest forms of abuse to recognize as it can be subtle and insidious. But it can also be overt and manipulative.

There are many things that can cause child abuse. The reasons are often complex, and there’s no single or simple explanation.Most parents want to love and care for their child in a safe home. Stress, tiredness or lack of parenting skills or family support make the pressures of caring for a child overwhelming, and can cause abuse.

Some major causes are; stress, financial pressures, job worries, medical problems or caring for a family member with a disability, unrealistic expectations, a lack of understanding about a child’s developmental stages and behaviour, lack of parenting skills parents may not know how to care for their child or may believe it is acceptable to use excessive physical force to discipline or punish a child, drug, alcohol or gambling problems.The picture below will show you signs to identify an abused child.

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