Physical abuse is any intentional act causing injury or trauma to another person or animal by way of bodily contact. … Alternative terms sometimes used include physical assault or physical violence, and may also include sexual abuse.
Child abuse or child maltreatment is physical, sexual, or psychological maltreatment or neglect of a child or children, especially by a parent or other caregiver.
Federal and state laws paint the issue of child abuse with a broad brush, including any type of cruelty inflicted on a child. This includes physical and child sexual abuse, mental abuse, psychological abuse, and exploitation. Specific crimes that may be charged under the umbrella of child abuse may include, among other things, assault and battery. Children subjected to the brutality of abuse or heartlessness of neglect, often experience problems in relationships, lack of trust, depression, anxiety, and anger. In the United States, more than three million reports of child abuse are made each year, and many more go unreported. To explore this concept, consider the following child abuse definition.
Definition of Child Abuse
Mistreatment or neglect of a child by a parent, guardian, or other caregiver, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
Forms of Child Abuse
The crime of abusing children takes place in many forms. Any action, or failure to act, by a parent or caregiver that results in the injury, death, or risk of serious emotional or physical harm to a child is considered abuse. Child abuse cases are broken down into four primary categories:
Physical Child Abuse
Any non-accidental physical injury inflicted on a child by a parent, caregiver, or other individual is considered physical child abuse. Physical child abuse includes such acts as hitting, kicking, shoving, biting, hair pulling, whipping, or other action that could cause injury. It is not necessary for the caregiver to have intended to injure the child when inflicting these acts for it to be considered abuse under the law.
Physical child abuse may result in:
- Cuts and scratches, bruises, burns, or blisters
- Broken bones, dislocated joints, or sprains
- Internal injuries, including brain damage
- Emotional and psychological trauma
Emotional Child Abuse
Acting in such a manner as to cause harm to a child’s mental health and social development is considered emotional child abuse. Emotional child abuse is usually a pattern of behavior that causes greater and greater damage over time.
Emotional child abuse may include:
- Terror – Blaming, accusing, insulting, and threatening a child are acts considered abuse. Punishing a child with threatened or actual abandonment or isolation, injury, or death cause extreme trauma. Other abusive acts include taking advantage of a child’s reliance on adults in manipulating him or setting him up for failure and criticism, as well as screaming and yelling at the child.
- Shame and Humiliation – Criticizing and belittling a child, mocking, and berating are abusive acts, as are calling the child names, making demeaning or humiliating comments, and otherwise battering the child’s self esteem.
- Rejection – Giving a child little or no attention, failing to initiate or return affection, and telling a child he is not wanted or loved are abusive acts. Additionally, not listening to the child when he speaks, cutting him off in conversation, and failing to validate or ridiculing his thoughts and feelings are abusive.
- Isolation – Confining a child to his room or a small area, and preventing him from interacting with other children, forbidding play and positive activities are abusive acts.
- Corruption – Encouraging the child to engage in criminal activity, teaching him to tell lies to justify such acts and ideas, or encouraging bullying or other bad behavior is considered abuse.
Child Sexual Abuse
Child sexual abuse refers to the use of a child for sexual purposes, including involving a child in sexual acts, or forcing him to interact with another child for an adult’s sexual gratification. Such acts may include:
- Forcing or encouraging a child to watch or engage in a sex act
- Forcing a child to look at sex organs, or to show his
- Engaging in inappropriate sexual talk with or in the presence of a child
- Fondling a child, forcing or encouraging a child to fondle an adult
- Performing oral sex on, or receiving oral sex from a child
- Penetration of a child
- Child pornography
- Child prostitution
Failure of a parent or caregiver to give affection, supervise and protect, and provide for a child’s health and safety are considered neglect. Child neglect may be physical, emotional, medical, or educational.
Physical child neglect includes such acts as:
- Abandoning a child
- Failing to provide healthy food and drink
- Failing to provide clothes appropriate to the weather
- Failing to ensure good personal hygiene
- Failing to supervise a child adequately, or leaving the child with an inappropriate caregiver
- Exposing a child to an unsafe or unhealthy environment
Emotional child neglect includes such acts as:
- Failing to provide affection, attention, and emotional support
- Isolating a child from friends and loved ones
- Exposing a child to frequent violence, including domestic violence
- Allowing a child to use drugs or alcohol, or to engage in criminal acts
Medical child neglect includes such acts as:
- Failing to provide preventative medical and dental care
- Failing to take a child to a doctor or hospital for serious illness or injury
- Failing to follow medical instructions or recommendations for a child
- Preventing a child from getting appropriate medical treatment
Educational child neglect includes:
- Failing to enroll a child in school, or failing to provide adequate home schooling
- Allowing a child to miss school excessively
- Failing to allow a child to receive needed special education services
How to Report Child Abuse
Anyone who suspects that a child is being abused or neglected should file a report with a local or state agency. Child abuse may be reported to law enforcement officials, child protective services, or even to an individual who is a mandated reporter.
Mandated Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect
All states have laws designating certain professionals who have regular contact with vulnerable people, such as children and the elderly, as individuals required to report reasonable suspicions of child abuse or neglect. Mandatory reporting is typically required by law enforcement and healthcare professionals, mental health professionals, social workers, teachers, and childcare providers.
The roots of mandated reporting of child abuse lie in the 1962 publication of “The Battered Child Syndrome” by Henry Kempe and Brandt Steele, which provided guidelines for identifying signs of child abuse and neglect, as well as stressing the importance of reporting abuse to legal authorities. Ten years later, Congress passed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (“CAPTA”), providing funds to states for the development of Child Protective Services agencies and abuse hotlines.
By 2009, the number of hotline reports of child abuse skyrocketed to 3.3 million, from only 15,000 in 1963. In that time, substantiated cases of physical abuse decreased 56%, sexual abuse decreased 62%, and neglect decreased 10%.
What is Reported
While the criteria for just what information must be included in a report of suspected child abuse or neglect vary by jurisdiction, minimal requirements generally include:
- Victim ID – The name, age, and address of the victim.
- Perpetrator ID – The name and address of the suspected perpetrator, as well as his or her relationship to the victim if known.
- How Information Obtained – A description of how the reporter learned of, or came to suspect, the abuse or neglect.
- Description of Abuse – The date, time, nature, and extent of the abuse or neglect.
- Previous Abuse – Information of previous abuse, neglect, or injuries suffered by the victim, if known.
- Reporter ID – The name, agency, title, address, and telephone number of the mandated reporter.
Anonymity in Reporting Child Abuse
While mandated reporters must give their names when they make reports, they may protect their privacy by requesting anonymity in many jurisdictions. If the matter goes to trial, however, the identity of the mandated reporter may be disclosed to the alleged perpetrator. Mandated reporters who make reports in good faith are afforded immunity from civil liability. Failure to report suspected abuse or neglect may result in the mandated reporter being subject to fines, sanctions, or other penalties, including a civil lawsuit or criminal prosecution.
Warning Signs of Child Abuse
While physical abuse may leave the most obvious signs, other types of abuse and neglect leave injuries that are harder to detect. Recognizing the warning signs of child abuse or neglect may help stop the cycle.
- Unexplained injuries such as bruises, scrapes, burns, or broken burns
- Fear of going home
- Changes in behavior, such as anxiety, depression, aggressiveness, or fear
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Changes in grades or attendance at school
- Lack of personal hygiene, including dirty hair, body odor, and inappropriate clothing
- High-risk behaviors, such as carrying a weapon, or using drugs or alcohol
- Inappropriate sexual behavior, or the use of overly explicit sexual language, for the child’s age
Warning signs of child abuse may be difficult to recognize, except by people who are in contact with, or who care for, children every day. For this reason, teachers, daycare providers, and other caregivers are in a uniquely suitable position to help a child escape abuse or neglect.
Child Abuse Statistics
Each year in the United States, more than 3 million reports of child abuse and neglect are reported, involving more than 6 million children. This makes the United States one of the worst among industrialized nations for child abandonment and abuse.
Child abuse and neglect are shown to cause increased incidence of such life-altering diseases as ischemic heart disease, liver disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (“COPD”). Studies have shown that adults who report having 6 or more harmful or detrimental experiences in their childhood have a life expectancy shortened by 20 years.
Related Legal Terms and Issues
- Domestic Violence – Violent, abusive, threatening, or coercive behavior within the home, typically inflicted by one family or household member on another.
- Criminal Act – An act committed by an individual that is in violation of the law, or that poses a threat to the public.
- Omission – The act of excluding or leaving something out; a failure to do something, especially something for which there is a moral or legal obligation to do.
Negligence – Failure to exercise a degree of care that would be taken by another reasonable person in the same circumstances.
Understanding and Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
The Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act defines child abuse and neglect or child maltreatment as:
Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.
- Neglect is a failure to meet the child’s basic needs, e.g., not providing enough food, shelter or basic supervision, necessary medical or mental health treatment, adequate education or emotional comfort.
- Physical abuse refers to the injury of a child on purpose, e.g., striking, kicking, beating, biting or any action that leads to physical injury.
- Sexual abuse is the use, persuasion or forcing of a child to engage in sexual acts or imitation of such acts
FACTORS : Abuse and neglect of children occurs in families from all walks of life, of all incomes, religions and ethnicities. There is no single cause of child maltreatment; rather, it occurs as a result of many forces working together to impact the family.
Parent or caregiver risk factors
- Low self-esteem, poor impulse control, depression, anxiety or antisocial behavior.
- Experiencing or witnessing violence as a child, which teaches violent behavior or justifies it as proper behavior.
- Substance abuse, which interferes with mental functioning, judgment, self-control, ability to be protective of one’s child and making the child’s needs a priority.
- Lack of knowledge about normal child development and unrealistic expectations, frustration and/or inappropriate methods of discipline.
Family risk factors
- Children living with single parents are more likely to live in poverty with fewer social supports, which may contribute to stress and increase risks of maltreatment.
- Children in violent homes may witness intimate partner violence, may be victims of physical abuse themselves and may be neglected by parents or caregivers who are focused on their partners or unresponsive to their children due to their own fears.
- Stressful life events, parenting stress and emotional distress (e.g., losing a job, physical illness, marital problems or the death of a family member) may worsen hostility, anxiety or depression among family members and increase the level of family conflict and maltreatment.
- Maltreating parents or caregivers are less supportive, affectionate, playful and responsive with their children and are more likely to use harsh discipline and verbal aggression than positive parenting strategies (e.g., using time outs, reasoning, and recognizing and encouraging the child’s successes).
Child risk factors
- Infants and young children, because they are small and need constant care, are more likely to experience certain forms of maltreatment such as being shaken by parents or caregivers frustrated or overwhelmed by persistent crying. Teenagers, on the other hand, are at greater risk for sexual abuse.
- Children with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities or chronic illnesses may be at greater risk of maltreatment. Parents or caregivers of children with disabilities are more likely to experience high levels of stress, depression and anger. Children with disabilities may not understand that abusive behaviors are inappropriate and are unable to defend themselves.
- Aggression, attention deficits, difficult temperaments and behavior problems in children have been associated with increased risk for maltreatment, especially when parents have poor coping skills, are unable to empathize with the child or have difficulty controlling emotions. Maltreatment often exacerbates the problem. A physically abused child may develop aggressive behaviors that lead to recurring maltreatment.
Environmental risk factors
The vast majority of parents or caregivers who live in these types of environments are not abusive. However, these stresses can increase the risk of abuse for some:
- Poverty and unemployment can increase the likelihood of maltreatment, especially in combination with family stress, depression, substance abuse and social isolation.
- Parents with less material and emotional support and who do not have positive parenting role models feel less pressure to conform to conventional standards of parenting behaviors.
- Children living in dangerous neighborhoods are at higher risk than children from safer neighborhoods for severe neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse. It is possible that violence may seem an acceptable response or behavior to individuals who witness it more frequently.
Delhi Police: 60 per cent of child abuse cases linked to schools
Last week, a three-year-old city child returned home, crying, with her cheeks mauled and clothes bearing bloodstains. Her parents rushed her to a doctor, who confirmed sexual assault — allegedly at her school.
After the family protested outside the institution in northwest Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar, the police registered a case against unknown persons, not ruling out the role of school staffers.
Frequent cases of child sexual abuse affect the parents the most. “After reading so much about such acts, I keep checking on my daughter. When she doesn’t want to attend school, I start sweating,” said Radhika Sinha, a resident of Delhi’s Moti Bagh. She keeps explaining ‘good touch & bad touch’ to her six-year-old.
Saita Sharma, a neighbour of a rape survivor in northeast Delhi, has stopped dressing up her daughter. “I don’t want my daughter to look pretty. I have stopped giving her a Barbie doll look. I don’t want her to attract attention. Actually, I am afraid of sending her to school and tuitions,” she said.
6 Horrendous Rape Cases In 2018 So Far Show That Minors Are Biggest Victims Of Sexual Assaults
Kathua, Unnao, Surat, Manipur, Delhi- the stretching list of gangrape cases across the nation has enraged people. Last time, something like this shook people’s conscience was in 2012, when Nirbhaya was brutally gang raped in a moving bus in Delhi. The sad part is nothing has changed, even after so many promises were made at that time.
The Kathua rape victim was just 8-year-old, Surat victim was just 11, Manipur girl who was raped and then set on fire was also 11-year-old. The list can go on and on…
What is more shocking is the fact that, in most of the cases, it has turned out that these minor girls are sexually abused and molested by someone they already know or someone, who is known to their families.
According to a report by child rights NGO CRY, sexual offence is committed against a child in India every 15 minutes and there has been an increase of more than 500 per cent over the past 10 years in crime against minors.
“While Uttar Pradesh tops the list with 15 per cent of recorded crimes against children, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh closely follow with 14 per cent and 13 per cent respectively,” the report said.
Here are some of the most brutal rape cases that shook the nation:
1. 8-year-old raped in Kathua
An eight-year-old innocent girl was brutally raped for days. She was sedated, tortured before finally killing her inside a temple. The nomadic girl had gone missing on January 10 and her body was recovered from the Rasana forest on January 17. Why was she raped?
Well, according to the investigation, it came out that the innocent Bakherwal girl was raped and killed to make the nomads move out of the area in fear. Yes, just to make them leave Kathua.
2. Sitapur gangrape
A father allegedly ‘gifted’ his daughter to his friends and later joined them to gang-rape her in Sitapur district, about 70 km away from Lucknow. Isn’t it disgusting?
One of the three accused in the crime was arrested on Tuesday while the others are on the run.
Police said the accused who is in his late 50s — and his daughter were visiting a fair in Kamlapur area on the evening of April 15. After attending the fair, the accused called his friend Maan Singh, a history-sheeter, to the spot.
3. 13-year-old raped 9-year-old in Uttar Pradesh
This is even more shocking, a 13-year-old boy allegedly raped a nine-year-old girl at his home in Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh. The boy had reportedly lured the girl with a silver ring. According to police the alleged rape was committed on Wednesday when the girl was alone at home. The suspect had lured her to his house and committed the crime.
4.10-year-old raped and killed in Chhattisgarh
A 25-year-old man raped and then killed a 10-year-old in Chhattisgarh during a wedding. Police said the 25-year-old accused, who has been arrested, admitted to have raped and killed the child by smashing her head with a stone. Finding everyone involved in the wedding, he lured the girl away and committed the crime. The body of the child was found dumped in a dry riverbed in the village.
5. 11-year-old raped in Assam
In Nagaon district in Assam, an 11-year-old girl was raped and then burnt alive, an entire village came together to help the police catch the accused. A 21-year-old and two minor boys from the same village have already been arrested. At Lalung Gaon, 150 kilometres from state capital Guwahati, the girl who was all alone at home was raped on March 23. “We were working in the field when villagers started calling us. We came home and saw our daughter was almost completely burnt,” the girl’s mother said.
6. 4-month-old baby raped in Indore
What was her fault? Was she wearing revealing clothes? Or did she invite rape? A four-month-old baby was raped and murdered in the Rajwada area. The infant’s body was found in the basement area of the heritage Shiv Vilas Palace, blood smears on the stairs telling a horror story. Hardened policemen were nearly moved to tears as they conducted a preliminary examination of the ravaged body and carried it away in a little bundle. A suspect, a member of the family, is in custody.
- Psychologists are heavily involved in the development and implementation of prevention programs for child abuse and neglect. Primary prevention programs raise awareness among the public, service providers and policymakers about the scope of issues involved in child maltreatment. Secondary prevention programs target populations with one or more risk factors for child maltreatment.Tertiary prevention programs target families where maltreatment has already taken place and aim to reduce the impact and prevent it from reoccurring.
If you suspect someone is abusing or neglecting a child, take action:
1250 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20024
(800) 394 3366
Child Help USA
15757 North 78th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
350 Poplar Avenue
Elmhurst , IL 60126
(877) 402 7722
Tennyson Center for Children
2950 Tennyson Street
Denver, CO 80212
(877) 224 8223
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
2000 L St., NW
Washington, DC 20036
Has India failed it’s daughters? Is mere arresting the accused enough? These questions will always be asked until the government make sure that every daughter of the nation lives safely.
Report the offence to the concerned police authorities of your areas.