April is Child Abuse Prevention Month-Part One


April is Child Abuse Prevention Month


Part One – Child Abuse Defined


By Terry Bailey



Folks have probably noticed yard signs around Beloit announcing the month of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The North Central Kansas Court Appointed Special Advocate program is sponsoring this month long awareness program as one way to call attention to child abuse.



Child abuse or child maltreatment is physicalsexual, or psychological maltreatment or neglect of a child or children, especially by a parent or other caregiver. In some instances abuse is things that are done to a child. In other situations it is things that are not done for the child. In general, abuse refers to (usually deliberate) acts of commission while neglect refers to acts of omission.



Child abuse may include any act or failure to act by a parent or other caregiver that results in actual or potential harm to a child, and can occur in or out of a child's home.



The terms child abuse and child maltreatment are often used interchangeably, although different jurisdictions have developed their own definitions of what constitutes child abuse for the purposes of removing children from their families or prosecuting a criminal charge.



Physical abuse


Among professionals and the general public, people often do not agree on what behaviors constitute physical abuse of a child. Physical abuse often does not occur in isolation, but as part of a constellation of behaviors including authoritarian control, anxiety-provoking behavior, and a lack of parental warmth. The WHO defines physical abuse as:


Intentional use of physical force against the child that results in – or has a high likelihood of resulting in – harm for the child's health, survival, development or dignity. This includes hitting, beating, kicking, shaking, biting, strangling, scalding, burning, poisoning and suffocating. Much physical violence against children in the home is inflicted with the object of punishing.


Sexual abuse


Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation. Sexual abuse refers to the participation of a child in a sexual act aimed toward the physical gratification or the financial profit of the person committing the act. 







Psychological abuse


There are multiple definitions of child psychological abuse:


In 1995, APSAC defined it as: "A repeated pattern of caregiver behavior or extreme incident(s) that convey to children that they are worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted, endangered, or only of value in meeting another's needs"


Some have defined it as behaviors such as loud yelling, coarse and rude attitude, inattention, harsh criticism, and denigration of the child's personality. Other examples include name-calling, ridicule, degradation, destruction of personal belongings, torture or killing of a pet, excessive criticism, inappropriate or excessive demands, withholding communication, and routine labeling or humiliation.





Child neglect is the failure of a parent or other person with responsibility for the child, to provide needed food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision to the degree that the child's health, safety or well-being may be threatened with harm.


Neglect is also a lack of attention from the people surrounding a child, and the non-provision of the relevant and adequate necessities for the child's survival, which would be a lacking in attention, love, and nurture.


Some observable signs of child neglect include: the child is frequently absent from school, begs or steals food or money, lacks needed medical and dental care, is consistently dirty, or lacks sufficient clothing for the weather.


Neglectful acts can be divided into six sub-categories: Supervisory neglect, physical neglect, medical neglect, emotional neglect, educational neglect, and abandonment.



Nest Time - Just How Prevalent is Child Abuse? National, State and Local Statistics



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