Child Abuse

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act states that child abuse is the leading cause of death in children under the age of eighteen. Child abuse occurs when adults inflict violence and cruelty upon children. Abuse is any willful act that results in physical, mental, or sexual injury that causes or is likely to cause the child to be physically, mental, or emotionally impaired. Abuse happens to children of any age, sex, race, religion, and social status. There are many different types of child abuse. There is maltreatment and sexual abuse.

Maltreatment is an area that encompasses many different things, such as physical abuse, child neglect, and emotional abuse. Physical abuse may begin with shaken baby syndrome and escalate to routine spanking, stabbing, punching, hitting, beating, biting, burning, and any other thing that harms a child. The adult doing this may not intend to cause harm, but it is still abuse. Physical abuse may lead to brain damage, disfigurement, blindness, and even death. An average of 5. 5 children per 10,000 enrolled in a day care are sexually abused.

In the United States more than 125,000 children suffer injuries intentionally inflicted by their caretaker, and between 2,000 and 5,000 of these children die as a result of their injuries. In 1994 3. 4 million cases of child abuse were reported. Child neglect is when a caregiver fails to give a child the care, and the supervision they need to stay physically and mentally healthy. Child neglect is when parents or the caregivers fail to provide for the childrens basic needs such as clothing, food, shelter, and so on. Child neglect takes many forms such as physical, educational, and emotional neglect.

Physical neglect can be seen as a refusal or delay to provide medical attention to a child. If an infant or child is not bathed or kept clean, this is physical neglect. Abandonment, kicking a minor out of the house, lack of parental supervision, leaving the child unattended, or not allowing a runaway to return home may also be seen as physical neglect. Educational neglect includes allowing your child to become truant, not enrolling them in school, or depriving them of special education classes if they need it. Along with their physical needs, children also have emotional needs.

All children should have a safe and stable home environment where they are loved and nurtured. To deprive a child of this is emotional neglect. Emotional neglect can occur when there is spousal abuse in a childs presence, or there is permission for the child to use drugs/alcohol, and a refusal for psychological care. With neglect the child may become delinquent, turn to alcohol/drugs, steal, or develop neurotic traits like sleeping disorders. They may also exhibit extreme behavior patterns like infantile or adult like behavior.

Some indicators of neglect may be consistent hunger, poor hygiene, truancy, abandonment, and a lack of physical development. Emotional abuse may include screaming, yelling, biting, name-calling, lack of love/affection, and so on. Children may be emotionally scarred when the y are labeled as stupid, ugly, crazy, or unwanted. Emotional abuse includes acts of omission by the childs primary caregivers that could cause behavioral, emotional, or mental disorders. In some cases of emotional abuse the childs caregiver may use excessive and bizarre forms of punishment like torture, or locking a child in a dark closet.

These things emphasize the need for the intervention of The Child Protective Services. Besides emotional abuse, physical abuse and neglect there is also sexual abuse. Studies show that 1 out of every 4 children will be the victim of sexual abuse before reaching 18. Sexual abuse can be physical, verbal, or emotional. There are many different types of sexual abuse. A stranger does not always commit the sexual abuse of a child; most often an adult that the child trusts commits the abuse. Sexual abuse by family members is the most common form of sexual abuse. Multiple family members not just one can also do it.

Sexual molestation is abuse that requires sexual stimulation to the body. Sexual molestation can happen to anyone, no matter what his or her age; and can be committed by anyone. Stranger rape often occurs when power and control is sexually expressed by attacking a victim that may result in violent penetration of the body in any way. Acquaintance Date Rape occurs when the victim knows their attacker. The act of sexual exposure can include flashing, exposing the naked body, or displaying ones sexual organs in an attempt to shock, scare, or sexually abuse a victim.

Voyeurism is an invasion of the victims privacy with the purpose of gaining sexual gratification. Exposing a child to pornography includes exposure to pornographic movies, magazines, pictures, or having the child undress or perform in a sexual way. There are many characteristics that you can look for in an abused child. Some indications may be large welts or other unexplained skin injuries, especially marks shaped like hands, fingers, objects, bites, choking marks on the neck, and circular marks on the wrist and ankles indicating twisting. Infants may exhibit black eyes and marks of scalding from being immersed in hot water.

By performing physical exams, doctors may find retinal hemorrhages, which are bleeding in the back of the eye. They may also detect internal bleeding, evidence of fractures, and the collection of blood in the brain without a reasonable explanation. Bone X-Rays, Skull X-Rays, PT, and PTTs may also be done. Often times children will avoid physical contact with their peers and especially adults. Abuse may cause them to be unpleasant and hard to get along with, causing them to have severe mood swings. They can also display abnormal eating habits, begin stealing, ditching school, and other responsibilities.

Pregnancy and venereal disease can be a result of sexual abuse. As a way to escape the pain they are feeling, they may try alcohol, drugs, or even attempt suicide. The people that commit these horrendous crimes against children may also have certain defining traits that make them suspicious. These adults are suspicious of everyone and do not trust anyone. They tend to avoid questions that deal with the childs injuries, or when confronted about it, they usually give a bizarre answer. They can also be overly critical of the child, but while in public they may avoid touching or looking at the child.

Adults that have been abused or neglected as a child may also be prime candidates to do the same thing to other children. It is a vicious and violent cycle of abuse. The adult may also have physical or mental health problems; be going through a life crisis; lack self – esteem, friends, or family. The adult may have an unrealistic expectation of the child; the parent may lack certain child rearing skills or see the child as bad or evil. The typical sex offender molests an average of 117 children and about 95% of the victims know their perpetrators.

Most sexual abuse cases do not show any physical evidence and recognition of this abuse is very difficult. Certain behavioral patterns provide important clues for potential sexual abuse cases. Some indicators of sexual abuse are the following: the child may be seen as having a hard time walking or sitting down; stained, bloody, or torn clothing; a pain or itching in the genital area; pregnancy; STDs; or a painful discharge of urine. You can also tell if there is sexual abuse if you encounter the child suddenly becoming resistant to changing their clothes in public for gym class, or a refusal to take part in gym class.

Some children of sexual abuse may also become sexual to their own peers and pressure them to do sexual acts with them. They may also become socially withdrawn and exhibit fears of being touched. In sexual abuse cases the children often fail to report the abuse because they fear that the consequences will be much worse than being abused again. The victims may be embarrassed to answer questions about the sexual abuse. They may also believe that it is their fault.

They can also feel guilty in many other ways, like feeling different from their peers, having vengeful feelings towards their parents, or feeling responsible for bringing this shame to the family. Any or all of these guilts may be a reason for the child not to disclose the fact that they were sexually abused. Sometimes those who do not report the abuse and keep it a secret will suffer greater distress than those who do tell and receive help. As long as the victim keeps the abuse a secret then the fear and suffering will continue to follow them. Approximately 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 16.

Dr. William C. Holmes of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine said that when sexually abused boys are not treated, society must later deal with the resulting problems, including crimes, suicide, drug use, and more sexual abuse. The suicide rate among sexually abused boys was 1. 5 to 14 times higher, and reports of multiple substance abuse among 6th grade boys who were molested was 12 to 40 times greater. It is estimated that there are 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in America today. Approximately 95% of teenage prostitutes have been sexually abused.

The victim of sexual abuse may have an altering of the development of their attitudes toward their self, and their relationships in the future. If the abuse is not resolved than sexuality may become an area of conflict when they are older. Now, I would like to share with you the survival story of a victim of child abuse. The first story was anonymously written. It is a story of a five – year old boy, who was sexually abused by his father while in kindergarten. His father was a heavy drinker, which led to frequent separations from the boys mother; they would often get back together.

The boys memory of the abuse is a bit fuzzy because he attempted to block it all out of his mind. He does however remember the smell of his sweat, his bad breath, and the way his dad would undress him upstairs in the attic bedroom while his brothers were at school and his mother was at work. As he was being undressed he would be so overwhelmed with fear that he would get a knot in his stomach that would become tighter and tighter as the abuse would occur. He remembers going to his secret hiding place under the front porch after these incidents would occur.

He was not just hiding from his father, but also from other people because he feared that they could just look at him and know what he had done. He felt like it was his fault and that he deserved it in some way. His father would often use threats of bodily harm to keep their secret. He once killed a cat in front of his eyes and blamed him to the rest of the family. Finally, his father was thrown out of the house never to be seen again until the boy was in his late teens. It was not until his fathers death that he could unlock the memories that he had suppressed.

Ever since he was abused he had been running away from his past, emotions, and those who loved him. He had spent over thirty years avoiding his emotions. He is only now beginning to uncover those feelings and begin to deal with what happened to him those many years ago. Now, he is happily married and has children of his own. As he looks down at them he wonders how anyone could do such horrible things to a helpless, defenseless child that they had created. Since child abuse is not something to take lightly, there are many laws and programs designed to combat child abuse. Megans Law was established in New Jersey.

It came into effect when 7- year old Megan Kanka of Hamilton Township was brutally raped and murdered by her neighbor across the street. The family and community had no idea that this man was a convicted sex offender. Megans Law requires all convicted sex offenders to register with the local police before moving into the area. It also establishes a three – step process to give the law enforcement agencies the permission to give information about these offenders to the public. This notification to the public is given after an evaluation into the offender is conducted, and if he poses a risk then the community will be notified.

The Attorney Generals Office in addition to a twelve – member council conducts the evaluation. With this information communities will be better able to protect their children from convicted sex offenders. The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is another program that aids in child abuse programs. The OVC provides funding to programs to develop strategies, discuss issues, and plan solutions to combat child abuse. OVC has joined forces with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to suppress family violence in Indian Country. They also work with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.

They also provide funding to the Victim Assistance program (VOCA). The Crime Victims Fund, which gets its monies from the penalties that Federal criminal offenders pay, funds OVC. Nearly 90% of the money that is collected is given out in the form of State grant programs that fund victim assistance. The other portion of the money is put into a fund that assists Federal crime victims and methods of assistance programs. The OVC awards funds to the American Bar Association Commission on Children and the Law as to how statutory rape cases are handled.

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