Thursday, April 1, 2010

April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month

Learn about child abuse and how you can help prevent it..

What Is The Definition of Child Abuse?
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define child maltreatment as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child (source).

What are the Types of Child Abuse?

Child abuse can take several forms (source): The four main types of abuse are physical, sexual, psychological, and neglect(source).

Physical Abuse:
Physical abuse is physical aggression directed at a child by an adult. It can involve striking, burning, choking or shaking a child. The distinction between child discipline and abuse is often poorly defined. Cultural norms about what constitutes abuse vary widely: among professionals as well as the wider public, people do not agree on what behaviors constitute abuse.

Child Sexual Abuse:
Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation.(sources: here and here) Forms of CSA include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities (regardless of the outcome), indecent exposure of the genitals to a child, displaying pornography to a child, actual sexual contact against a child, physical contact with the child's genitals, viewing of the child's genitalia without physical contact, or using a child to produce child pornography (sources: here, here, and here).

Psychological/Emotional Abuse:
Out of all the different forms of abuse, emotional abuse is the hardest to identify. This form of abuse includes name-calling, ridicule, degradation, destruction of personal belongings, torture or destruction of a pet, excessive criticism, inappropriate or excessive demands, withholding communication, and routine labeling or humiliation (source).

Neglect is the instance in which the responsible adult fails to adequately provide for various needs, including physical (failure to provide adequate food, clothing, or hygiene), emotional (failure to provide nurturing or affection) or educational (failure to enroll a child in school).

Why Does Child Abuse and Neglect Occur?

Child abuse is a complex problem which has multiple causes (source). Understanding the causes of abuse is crucial to addressing the problem of child abuse. Parents who physically abuse their spouses are more likely to physically abuse their children. However, it is difficult to know whether marital strife is a cause of child abuse, or if both the marital strife and abuse are caused by tendencies in the abuser (source). Substance abuse is a major contributing factor to child abuse. One study found that parents with documented substance abuse, most commonly alcohol, cocaine, and heroin, were much more likely to mistreat their children, and were also much more likely to reject court-ordered services and treatments (source).

What Children Are at Risk?

What is the Outcome for Children Who've Been Abused?

How Can Child Abuse and Nelgect Be Prevented?

Some Helpful Links
National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Domestic Violence Hotline TDD
(for the hearing-impaired)

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN)
Toll-free 24-hour Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
RAINN is a 24-hour national hotline for victims of sexual assault. Calls to the hotline are instantly computer-routed to the 24-hour rape crisis center nearest the caller.

Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline
National Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
TDD: 1-800-2-A-CHILD

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
National Hotline: 1-800-THE-LOST

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)
A child advocacy organization in the UK promoting awareness, education, and public change to put an end to child abuse.

Child Welfare Information Gateway
Topics Covered Include: Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect, Overview of Child Abuse and Neglect, Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect, Responding: The Child Welfare System, and Issues Associated with Child Abuse and Neglect, and Find Help with a Personal Situation. También disponible en español.

Prevent Child Abuse America
A not-for-profit organization that has worked for over 25 years with local, state, and national groups to promote healthy parenting and community involvement as effective strategies for preventing child abuse.

Child Abuse Prevention Network
Provides multiple links to child abuse prevention sites, including Army Family Adovcacy Program, Physicians Network, and Family Life Development Center.

Contains information about child abuse prevention and treatment, and a method to report suspected abuse cases in the US.
Seeks to support, inform and encourage those dealing with any aspect of child abuse, in a positive non-threatening environment. Includes articles by child abuse prevention experts.

A clearinghouse of information for facts and strategies for those seeking to keep children safe from maltreatment, such as crisis hotline numbers, parenting articles, and web links.

Parents Anonymous
Self help groups for abused children and parents under stress

Coalition for Children
Comprehensive resource for child abuse, lifeskills education, advocacy, media support, legal & expert witness services, research, strangers, safety on the Internet and bullies.

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