Child Abuse

Child Abuse :

Child abuse is one of the saddest and most tragic problems in America today. Each year an estimated one to two million American children are being beaten, neglected, or sexually abused by their parents or guardians. Infants only a few days old as well as teenagers are subject to child abuse. There are four types of child abuse: physical abuse, physical neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. Child abuse is a serious problem that plagues America's youth and should be stopped.

Physical abuse is a form of abuse that should be stopped as soon as possible. According to social agencies, beatings of children have multiplied over the past twenty years. Physical abuse is any abuse that is harmful to the child. This kind of abuse includes the physical discipline which results in observable injuries on the child. It also includes use of a life-threatening weapon, like a gun or a knife, against a child and any abuse resulting in death. Any abuse which results in a sever injury requiring prompt medical attention, that could be life threatening, that could cause mental and/or physical impairment, could cause disfigurement, or chronic pain is too classified as physical child abuse. Another form of physical abuse is any knowing or willful mistreatment which in the opinion of a licensed medical doctor causes great bodily harm and/or results in hospitalization for treatment of this injury or condition; this may include physical injury sustained as a result of abuse or conditions which result from a parent's willful failure to act to stop this from happening to the child.

Physical neglect is defined as failure to provide for a child's physical survival needs to the extent that there is harm or risk of harm to the child's health and safety. Physical neglect includes these four things: inadequate food, inadequate shelter, inadequate medical care, and inadequate supervision. Forty-two percent of all child abuse reports involve allegations of physical neglect. The inadequate food element includes a child intentionally or deliberately not getting fed or given water. It also includes a diagnosis by a physician of failure to thrive because of a parent's failure to feed the child. Inadequate shelter includes prolonged and serious illness resulting from exposure to the elements or to serious dangerous substances as evidenced by serious injury. Inadequate medical care encompasses the child not receiving medical treatment for an injury, illness, or disability, and if left untreated, the condition is life-threatening, or will result in permanent impairment, or is a serious threat to public health. Inadequate supervision is dependent upon the child's age, developmental level, willingness to stay alone, time of day, awareness of what to do in case of an emergency, whether the child is responsible for watching younger brothers and/or sisters, whether the child had any physical or mental limitations that would make it difficult or impossible for the child to care for himself/herself, and/or any other applicable circumstances.

Some signs of neglect are obvious in children and others are not. A sign of neglect is that the child/children have repeated injuries that are not properly treated or adequately explained. Another sign of neglect is that the child/children begin acting in unusual ways ranging from disruptive and aggressive to passive and withdrawn. Their sleep is disturbed (nightmares, bedwetting, fear of sleeping alone). They lose all of their appetite or they overeat. There is a sudden drop in school grades or participation in school or after school activities. They may act in stylized ways, such as sexual behavior that is not normal for their age group.

Sexual abuse is defined as acts of sexual harassment and sexual exploitation of minors. Sexual abuse encompasses a broad range of behavior and may consist of many acts over a long period of time or a single incident. The nature of sexual abuse, the shame of the child victim, and the possible involvement of trusted parents, stepparents, or other persons in a caretaker role make it extremely difficult for children to come forward to report sexual abuse. Sexual contact is the intentional touching of the victim's intimate parts, whether on top of or underneath of the victim's clothing, if that intentional touching can be reasonably interpreted as being for the purpose of sexual arousal or satisfaction. Sexual penetration includes oral sex, anal intercourse, or any intrusion, no matter how insignificant, of any part of a person's body or object into the genital or anal openings of another person's body. Sexual abuse may also include child pornography, child prostitution or exposure of children to sexual acts or materials depicting sexual acts.

Emotional abuse includes verbal assaults, ignoring and indifference or constant family conflict. It also includes punishments like locking the child in a dark closet. Sometimes such behaviors can cause serious mental disorders. If a child is degraded enough, the child will begin to live up to the image that is being communicated by the abusing parent or caretaker. This type of abuse is the hardest kind to notice because it leaves no bruises. A child who is emotionally abused may seem withdrawn, or act out frustration by abusing other children, animals or belongings.

Child abuse is a serious problem that plagues America's youth and must be stopped. Physical abuse and physical neglect can hurt someone to the point of having to visit the hospital or even death. Sexual abuse can cause injury and scar someone for life with the memories of the act or acts of sexual abuse the child had done to him/her. Emotional abuse can also scar someone for life in the sense that it can change your all around behavior about the world and everyone in it because of one incident or a series of acts that occurred in your childhood. Child abuse must be stopped in order to have a normal and prosperous youth of tomorrow.

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