When an individual hears the word “abuse” they immediately think of the physical aspects. However, there are many more characteristics that define this word when it comes to domestic child abuse. Children of every gender, ethnicity, race, age group, and socioeconomic status are at risk of any type of child abuse (Child Sexual Abuse). Due to the fact that most people do not know anything about child abuse, except for the visible, physical parts, they do not think about the other two most common forms of abuse.
This brings certain people to believe that, of the three main child abuse types, only physical and sexual abuse are the true forms of abuse. However, the signs and symptoms of all three abuses, emotional, physical, and sexual, should be something that is widely known by individuals in order for us to prevent it from happening. In Texas, there is an organization committed to helping out children that are victims of abuse. Texas Child Protective Services, also known as CPS, investigates reports of child abuse and neglect.
This association also puts many children into safer homes, such as foster care, while also helping other children to get adopted. On the Child Protective Services website, there are many tabs for information about state care of a child, prevention of abuse, and even an offer for multiple parenting classes. Texas is not the only state to have this kind of organization. Although, not all of the states call it “CPS,” every state has an agency that is similar and was made for the same cause, child welfare.
However, most child welfare organizations are not given enough money from the states. There has even been cases when the agency needed to investigate certain situations and simply couldn’t because they were understaffed and had no funds to hire more personnel (“Child Abuse”). Problems like these could essentially put the child back into the potentially dangerous home. Physical abuse is most commonly known as physically harming or injuring a child. The harm could be a deliberate act in order to hurt the child, although this is not always the case.
It could also be a form of harsh discipline in which physical punishment is used that is inappropriate to the child’s age or condition (“Child Abuse and”). In certain conditions, it is difficult to know the differences between discipline and physical abuse. Physical abuse has three characteristics that discipline does not, they are known as unpredictability, lashing out in anger, and using fear to control behavior. Unpredictability is when a child does not know what type of behavior sets of the physical acts of behavior. In other words, the child is constantly walking on eggshells never knowing where the boundaries are.
Parents that lash out in anger do so with the desire to assert control. Basically, the angrier the parent the more intense the abuse. Lastly, parents or guardians that use fear to control feel as if the child must fear them in order for them to obey, so they use physical abuse. However, abuse does not help the child to learn from the mistakes, they only learn how to avoid the act itself. (“Child Abuse and”). One of the most recurrent physical abuses is known by doctors as abusive head trauma, but most commonly known by society as shaken baby syndrome.
This usually takes place when the individual that is the caregiver in that moment, gets frustrated and reacts with sudden rage when the helpless baby is restless or will not stop crying. The caregiver literally has “shaken the life out” of a powerless baby (Haberman). The shaking back and forth causes brain swelling, bleeding on the surface of the brain, and bleeding behind the eyes. For many years these three factors were the only thing a doctor needed in order to report a crime of child abuse, even without other cuts or bruises.
While some doctors are now uncertain that this is true, most still believe that these three things are all they need to have a crime (Haberman). Even though shaken baby syndrome is a very severe example of physical abuse, all of the different kinds of this abuse are still just as relevant. Although all age groups are at risk of sexual abuse, age plays an important role in sexual abuse. Children are the most susceptible to sexual abuse between the ages of seven and thirteen. However, more than twenty percent of children are sexually abused before the age of eight (Child Sexual Abuse).
Sexual abuse is, by definition, any sexual activity between adults and minors. This includes sexual touching and sexual acts not involving touching, such as pictures of a child for sexual gratification. Sexual abuse is very hard to report because many of the children do not wish to talk about what is happening to them. Especially for young boys, sexual abuse is very humiliating due to the fact that many people assume that only girls are sexually abused. Most of the sex offenders are not strangers.
In fact, they are the people that may be respected members of the community and may even be involved in functions in which they would have access to children. For example, people like club leaders and members of the church have the trust of the kids that probably look up to them and most kids trust the people who abuse them (Child Sexual Abuse). Sexually abused children sometimes feel as if they “brought the abuse upon themselves” and even blame themselves for the abuse (“Child Abuse and”). Some children may also feel that no one will believe them or that they will be angry at them.
Most children feel as if they told anyone about the abuse they would end up splitting the family apart. Due to this abuse being so difficult for children to report, when a child confides in an individual it most likely true and they need to be taken seriously. According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, NSPCC, emotional abuse is defined as “the ongoing emotional maltreatment or emotional neglect of a child. ” Emotional abuse can be tough to define due to the fact that there are children who don’t know the difference between tough love and abuse.
This specific type of abuse can lead to many things such as isolation, depression, self harm, and, in more severe cases, even suicide. Emotional abuse, also known as psychological abuse, is classified by many things. From having a parent humiliate their child to blaming the young kid of something they had no control over. Emotional abuse, as a whole, involves many different things within a household. Such as: constantly depriving the child of the emotional attention they need, never being there for the young child, or teen, physically, which is also known as neglect.
Also, circumstances in which the parent or caregiver never gives the kid positive and kind responses to things that deserve a congratulation, can and should be classified as emotional abuse. Although, there is not a set number of kids that go through emotional abuse, one in fourteen children have experienced emotional abuse by a parent or guardian (NSPCC). There are two main categories when it comes to emotional abuse. The first type is known as passive emotional abuse. This is often defined as when a parent or guardian denies their child the love and care they need in order to be healthy and happy.
The passive emotional abuse definition is very close to that of emotional neglect and is sometimes hard for individuals to tell the difference between the two. The next one is defined as active emotional abuse, which is when someone intentionally scares, demeans, or verbally abuses a child. Examples of this would be terrorising, isolating, exploiting, or corrupting a child. Emotional abuse is the hardest to report out of the three types of abuse due to the fact that it doesn’t leave marks, bruises, or cuts. Which is why there is no set number for how many kids go through this type of abuse. NSPCC).
Some people may say that since physical and sexual abuse leave the child with marks, bruises, cuts, and scars, they are the only two types of real abuse. However, emotional damage can be almost similar to a scar etched into the heart. All three of these abuses will follow the child with them throughout their life. No matter what, the young individual will always remember how they were treated by their parents. It could even affect the lives of the future kids to come, due to the fact that all abuse and neglect are equally scarring.
In conclusion, every parent, teacher, and guardian needs to be educated about all of these abuse forms and the signs of each of them. Knowing the symptoms and being able to report these abuses, will help all of those kids in need. Most importantly how to identify emotional abuse, being that it is the most difficult to notice. However, being able to prevent these crimes starts with having a good child welfare system. This requires a lot more funding so that the trained social workers, and multiple other trained personnel, can do their jobs thoroughly.