By Terry Orr
What is Child Abuse?
Child abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment or neglect of a child or children. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department for Children And Families (DCF) 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. Child abuse can occur in a child's home, or in the organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with. There are four major categories of child abuse: neglect, physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, and sexual abuse.
Different jurisdictions have developed their own definitions of what constitutes child abuse for the purposes of removing a child from his/her family and/or prosecuting a criminal charge. According to the Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect, child abuse is "any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm." (Source: Wikipedia)
Child Abuse Types (can take several forms – but the four main types are):
- Physical - physical aggression directed at a child by an adult.
- Sexual - is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation.
- Psychological/Emotional - is defined as the production of psychological and social deficits in the growth of a child as a result of behavior such as loud yelling, coarse and rude attitude, inattention, harsh criticism, and denigration of the child's personality.
- 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, and well-being are threatened with harm.
10 Ways to Prevent Child Abuse:
- BE A NURTURING PARENT Children need to know that they are special, loved, and capable of following their dreams.
- HELP A FRIEND, NEIGHBOR, OR RELATIVE Being a parent isn't always easy. Offer a helping hand - take care of the kids so the parents can rest or spend time together.
- HELP YOURSELF When big or little problems pile up and you feel overwhelmed or out of control, take a time out. Don’t take it out on your kids.
- IF YOUR BABY CRIES It can be frustrating hearing your baby cry. Learn what to do if your baby won’t stop crying. Never shake a baby - shaking can result in severe injuries or death.
- GET INVOLVED Ask your local community leaders, clergy, library and schools to develop services to meet the needs of healthy children and families.
- HELP TO DEVELOP PARENTING RESOURCES IN YOUR COMMUNUTY See about organizing a Parent Resource Center or be sure families know about the parent helpline at 1-800-FLA-LOVE.
- PROMOTE PROGRAMS IN SCHOOLS Teaching children, parents and teachers prevention strategies can help keep children safe.
- http://www.cmskids.com/families/child_protection_safety/documents/10_Ways_to_Prevent_Child_Abuse.pdfWatching violent films, TV programs, and video games can harm young children.
- VOLUNTEER AT A LOCAL CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION PROGRAM For information on volunteer opportunities, call 1-800-CHILDREN.
- REPORT SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT If you have a reason to think a child has been or may be harmed, call and make a report: 1-800- 96-ABUSE. (Source: Child Medical Services)
“The 2013 Resource Guide for Preventing Child Maltreatment and Promoting Well-Being: A Network for Action” is available for review and download at http://www.carescac.org/april-is-child-abuse-prevention-month/1201/.
They are many good resources available to parents, caregivers, friends, family members and communities to assist in preventing Child Abuse – all it takes is being Proactive – and doing something to help a child! As Nike states – Just Do It!
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