Maltreatment of children is not a new phenomenon. It dates back far into history, as far as the colonial times and even back to biblical times. During the recent years child maltreatment has had an increase in the publics eye. There are many factors to child maltreatment. There are four general categories of child maltreatment now recognized. They are physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and emotional maltreatment. Each category, in turn, covers a range of behavior. The maltreatment of children not only affects the children themselves, but also affects the family intern making it dysfunctional.
Physical Abuse Physical abuse may be best defined as any non-accidental physical injury by a person who has care, custody, or control of a child. The definition contains two key aspects, the act is intentional or willful, and/or the act resulted in physical injury. Accidental does not qualify as child abuse. (Wallace,29) Physical abused children do not fit any type of stereotype. Abuse occurs in all neighborhoods. Also, abusers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and sexes. There are many signs of physical abuse.
First the location and types of injuries, many time the parent or care akers will deny any wrong doing or the child has suffered any physical injury. There are always those injuries that consist of a normal childhood upbringing, such as falling of their bike or bumping their head. Then, there are those which they cannot be explained. When caretakers deny any injuries or have no knowledge of an injury, there is a very strong likely hood that physical abuse exists. Here are some of the signs of physical abuse. Bruises happen for various of accidental reasons. There are also bruises that are tell tale signs of abuse.
Bruises have a time clock that can ell when it happened. Also, the location of the bruise can tell a story. Bruises on the front part of the body are often signs of normal bruises from just falling ECT. Bruises found on the back of the arm, leg, lower back, the butt and genital are suspicious bruises and often questioned bruises. Patterned bruising is also a sign of abuse. Normal bruises are in various shapes and sizes. While some bruises that are a patterned show strong signs of abuse. These are bruises that have definite boundaries and sharp and curved edges.
For example rope, rulers, hand prints and so on. (wallace,38) Burns are also a sign of abuse. Burns are patterned like bruises. These burns would have sharp edges and spots that were spared from flexation. Water immersion burns are common signs of child abuse usually caused by a caretaker holding the child in the water. Also patterned burns which are burns caused by pressing hot objects on the child bodies. (wallace,42) Another sign of abuse is fractures. These types of fractures are signs of abuse. Spiral fractures are usually breaks in the humerus or femur resulting from twisting of the limb.
Head and internal injuries are often signs of abuse. Such as occasion, whiplash or shaken baby syndrome are examples of head injuries. Chest and abdominal injuries are common in abuse. This is caused by hitting or grasping a child. (Wallace,43) Sexual Abuse Sexual abuse is defined as the sexual exploitation or sexual activities of children. A child under these circumstances will indicate that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or threatened. Intra familial sexual abuse includes incest and refers any type of exploitative sexual contact between relatives.
There are many physical indicators of sexual abuse. Here are some xamples of physical indicators: difficulty in walking or sitting, torn, stained or bloody underwear, bleeding, bruising and itching around the genitals and anal. Frequent urinary tract or yeast infections. Pain on urination and so on. There are no pattern or causes of conduct that leads to sexual abusers. (wallace,58 and 63) Child Neglect The definition of child neglect is the treatment or maltreatment of a child by a parent or caretaker under circumstances indicating harm or threatened harm to the child’s health or welfare.
There are many theories of child neglect rom poverty to non-fit parents. There are also many indications to child neglect. (Wallace,82) Some of the physical indicators are poor growth, constant hunger and malnutrition. Poor body odor and hygiene, lice and inappropriate clothing. Constant fatigue. Constant lack of supervision and unexplained bruises or injuries as result of poor supervision. Unattended physical problems or medical needs, such as lack of proper immunizations, gross dental problems, need glasses or hearing aids.
Emotional neglect Emotional neglect is the constant act or omission which is judged by the ommunity standers and professional expertise to be psychologically damaging to the child. Rejecting the child is one form of child neglect. This is when caretakers refuse to acknowledge the children’s worth or emotional need. For example, a parent treats the child differently than his or her other siblings. Isolating a child is when a caretaker does not allow the child to interact with others. An example of this is when a child caretaker does not let them out of the house or even out of their room.
Another type of emotional abuse is terrorizing the child, in which the caretaker establishes extreme fear and right into the child. (wallace,88) Corrupting the child is another form of emotional abuse. This when the care takers engage in anti social behavior with the child. Denying the child emotional responses, also the caretaker fails to provide emotional resources necessary for the child’s health psychological development. Other types of child neglect are dirty or unfit homes. These are houses that are dirty and health hazards to the child or any other person in the home.
Drugs and alcohol abuse are considered neglect to the child. This happens when a caretaker uses drugs and alcohol to an excess, this ould make the caretaker is emotionally in unavailable to the child. Also, if the child comes in contact with the substances, they can cause serious harm. For example, if the child ingests the substance. When a caretaker refuses to obtain acceptable medical services for a child, it is considered medical neglect. Abandonment is also a form of neglect. This is when some caretakers conduct indicates that conscious rejection of the obligations of parenthood.
Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect Consequences of child maltreatment can be devastating. Researchers have ound that the effects of child maltreatment can affect the child’s life and also the family itself. They have also found that not only the physical effect of the abuse, but also the long term effect that will occur later on in life. Physically abused children were found to be less attentive in school and more inclined to have hostile attributes. They are also less likely to manage personal problems and stress. Abused and neglected children from poor social skills that will affect not only them, but the others around them.
Also, this will affect the child’s self-esteem and performance in their orld. Abused children can also lead to development delays and attention deficits. The psychological and behavioral effects of physical abuse are sometimes over looked. These are some psychological and behavioral symptoms of physical abuse. The child might be easily frightened or fearful of adults and parents. The child might be destructive to themselves and other people around them. Also, extreme behaviors from aggressiveness to withdrawn. A child could attain poor social relations and learning problems and problems with school.
They could run away or have delinquent behavior. Physical aggression and antisocial behavior are among the most common outcomes of physical abuse. Some studies have shown that physically abused children show more aggression than maltreated children. Consequences of physical child abuse have included deficiencies in development of stable attachments to an adult caretaker or parent. Poorly attached children are in risk of diminished self-esteem and thus views themselves negatively. (National Research Council,212) Sexual abuse may affect each of the victims differently.
Some of the victims were affected more than others. It depends on a wide range of factors, such as age of the victim, how much force was used and the duration of the molestation. Also, the type of abuse will affect the child. The identity of the offender will affect of the child, if the child knew or did not know the molester. The age of the abused also has an effect of how much the child remembers. One of the biggest factors is the personality of the child. This will have the biggest determination of the effect of the child. The behavioral effects of sexual abuse.
The child also will have fear and inability not to rust adults. They might also have anger and aggression toward people. The child may exhibit inappropriate sexual behavior. A child might suffer from depression, guilt and shame. More than likely, they will have problems in school and social skills. Also, the child may have phobic or avoidant behavior and regressive behavior. (National Research Council,215) Consciences of neglectful behavior can be severe and powerful in early childhood development. Also, lack of attachment may harm the development of bonding between child and parent.
Inter this could affect problem solving, ocial relationships, and coping with stressful situations. It has been found that in the long run, parents that were neglected during their childhood often neglected their children. Also, the children that have psychological damage from maltreatment are more likely to indulge in suicide and self mutilation. Nonphysically abused children are more likely to have depression and hopelessness. Children with inappropriate sexual behavior, such as frequent and overt self stimulation are a direct constituency of sexual abuse. Non-sexually abused children later on in life also sometimes show sexual overtones.
Sexually abused children may show high levels of dissociation, a process in a product a disturbance in normal integrative functions of memory and identity. Many abused children are able to self hypnotize themselves or space out. It has been found that abuse as a child has affected their stages of life. Studies have found that abused children have lower intellectual functioning and reduced cognitive functioning. Others have found language skills and verbal ability to be affected by abuse. Also, studies have suggested that today’s abused and neglected children are tomorrow’s problem adult.