Posts Tagged ‘www.childabuse.org’



It is endless, but the end is a must, it is some thing to be stopped asap, there s no need for an introduction for today s post. I thought of the sad reality of most children in our world. They may not have a voice of their own, but you and I certainly can speak for them. At least try to prevent repetition of this inhumanity.


Time to keep your eyes open, be aware of the facts then suddenly you’d notice things happening around, which you may have overlooked.


16th POST




Fact Sheet:

Emotional Child Abuse


What is it?


Emotional child abuse is maltreatment which results in impaired psychological growth and development. 1 It involves words, actions, and indifference.2 Abusers constantly reject, ignore, belittle, dominate, and criticize the victims.1,3 This form of abuse may occur with or without physical abuse, but there is often an overlap.4 Examples of emotional child abuse are verbal abuse; excessive demands on a child’s performance; penalizing a child for positive, normal behavior (smiling, mobility, exploration, vocalization, manipulation of objects); discouraging caregiver and infant attachment; penalizing a child for demonstrating signs of positive self-esteem; and penalizing a child for using interpersonal skills needed for adequate performance in school and peer groups.1,3 In addition, frequently exposing children to family violence and unwillingness or inability to provide affection or stimulation for the child in the course of daily care may also result in emotional abuse.3



How is it identified?


Although emotional abuse can hurt as much as physical abuse, it can be harder to identify because the marks are left on the inside instead of the outside.4 Not surprising, there exist few well-validated measures of childhood emotional abuse. Clinicians can use a revised version of the Child Abuse and Trauma Scale (CATS) which targets measures for emotional abuse.5 Caregivers can also closely observe children’s behaviors and personalities. Children suffering

from emotional abuse are often extremely loyal to the parent, afraid of being punished if they report abuse, or think that this type of abuse is a normal way of life.3 Behavioral indicators of an emotionally abused child include inappropriate behavior that is immature or more mature for the child’s age, dramatic behavioral changes (disruption of activities, clinging or compulsively seeking affection and attention), aggressiveness, uncooperativeness, bedwetting or loss of bowel control (after a child has been trained), and destructive or antisocial behavior (being constantly withdrawn and sad). Furthermore, poor relationships with peers, lack of self confidence, unusual fears for the child’s age (fear of going home, being left alone, specific objects), or inability to react with emotion or develop an emotional bond with others are also indicators. Realistically, any of the above behaviors may also be seen in normal children, but a change in pattern of these behaviors is a strong indicator of emotional abuse.3



Who are the perpetrators?


Almost any adult involved in a relationship with a child is a potential perpetrator. Parents, teachers, pastors, social workers, neighbors, lawyers, or judges may all be capable of emotional maltreatment.1 Common characteristics of the abusing adult include blaming or belittling the child in public, describing the child negatively, always assuming the child is at fault, having unrealistic expectations of the child, openly admitting to disliking or hating the child, threatening the child with severe punishment, withdrawing comfort as a means of discipline, being emotionally cold and un-supportive, suffering from alcohol and drug abuse, and possessing a violent nature.3



Why does this happen?


Most emotional abuse occurs for many of the same reasons that physical abuse occurs. Parents are vulnerable to becoming involved in maltreatment if stresses in their lives build up or if they page 2 are unable to manage these stresses. They may also have diminished capacity for understanding and dealing with children (mental retardation, psychopathology, alcoholism, drug abuse), false ideas about children’s needs, or sadistic psychosis.1 Also, the abuser’s goal may be to control.2 Nevertheless, a single factor may not lead to abuse, but in combination they can create the social and emotional pressures that lead to emotional abuse. Specific types of problems that can contribute to emotional abuse are social problems that can contribute to family stress (unemployment, poverty, isolation from relatives and friends, divorce, death, immature parents), health crises (illness of a family member, disability of a family member, drug and alcohol abuse within the family), and mental health problems (mental disability, depression).3



What are the effects?


The consequences of emotional child abuse can be serious and long-term.3,6 Many research studies conclude that psychopathologic symptoms are more likely to develop in emotionally abused children. These children may experience a lifelong pattern of depression, estrangement, anxiety, low self-esteem, inappropriate or troubled relationships, or a lack of empathy.1,2,3,6,7 During their childhood, victims may fail to thrive or their developmental progress may be halted. Some may also become poorly adjusted emotionally and psychologically.3 As teenagers, they find it difficult to trust, participate in and achieve happiness in interpersonal relationships, and resolve the complex feelings left over from their childhoods. As adults, they may have trouble recognizing and appreciating the needs and feelings of their own children and emotionally abuse them as well.1



What can be done for the victims?


To effectively identify and confirm emotional abuse, it is necessary to observe the abuser-child interaction on varied and repeated occasions. If emotional abuse is suspected, action can be taken regardless of whether the suspected offender is within the child’s home, child care setting, or elsewhere in the community. It is the caregiver’s responsibility to report and not investigate suspicions of child abuse. It is the child protection agency’s responsibility to investigate reports of any type of abuse. A careful evaluation of those involved and the sources of stress should be completed by appropriate and skilled professionals. Usually, a team consisting of a child protection worker, a physician, a psychiatrist or psychologist, a public health nurse, a childcare staff, and a teacher will become involved.3



What can be done to prevent it?


Health care professionals and concerned individuals need to increase awareness for and education in emotional child abuse in the community and among parents. Secondly, parents and guardians need to be encouraged to develop strong attachments with their children and learn to express warmth and positive regard for them. Finally, families have to be encouraged to form relationships with support systems available to them. In addition, more research in topics related to emotional child abuse and parent-child relationships must be undertaken.1




1) Garbarino, J. & Garbarino, A. Emotional Maltreatment of Children. (Chicago, National Committee to Prevent

Child Abuse, 2nd Ed. 1994).

2) Jantz, G.L. Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse. Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell (1995).

3) “Emotional Abuse & Young Children”, Florida Center for Parent Involvement (website:


4) Korfmacher, J. Emotional Neglect: Being Hurt by What Is Not There. (Chicago, National Committee to

Prevent Child Abuse, 1998).

5) Kent, A. & Waller, G. “The impact of childhood emotional abuse: an extension of the Child Abuse and

Trauma Scale.” Child Abuse and Neglect. May, 1998; 22(5): 393-399.

6) Rich, D.J., Gingerich, K.J. & Rosen, L.A. “Childhood emotional abuse and associated psychopathology in

college students”. Journal of College Student Psychotherapy. 1997; 11(3): 13-28.

7) Sanders, B. & Becker-Lausen, E. “The measurement of psychological maltreatment: Early data on the child

abuse and trauma scale”. Child Abuse and Neglect. 1995; 19(3): 315-323.



Fact Sheet:

Sexual Abuse of Children



What is it?


Sexual abuse of a child is inappropriately exposing or subjecting the child to sexual contact, activity, or behavior. Sexual abuse includes oral, anal, genital, buttock, and breast contact. It also includes the use of objects for vaginal or anal penetration, fondling, or sexual stimulation. This sexual activity may be with a boy or a girl and is done for the benefit of the offender. In addition, exploitation of a child for pornographic purposes, making a child available to others as

a child prostitute, and stimulating a child with inappropriate solicitation, exhibitionism, and erotic material are also forms of sexual abuse.1



How common is it?


In 1997, 1,054,000 children were confirmed by child protective services agencies (CPS) as victims of some form of abuse (15 out of every 1000 US children). According to this survey, 8% represented child sexual abuse (there were 844,320 new cases of child sexual abuse accepted for service).2 A 1996 national incidence study conducted by the federal government found that girls are sexually abused three times more often than boys.3 Retrospective surveys reveal great variation, but do support the estimate that at least 20% of American women and 5-16% of American men experienced some form of sexual abuse as children.4



Who are the victims?


Sexual abuse can occur in all populations. It happens to children in both rural and urban areas, in all socioeconomic and educational levels, and across all racial and cultural groups. Statistics indicate that girls are more frequently the victims of sexual abuse, but that the number of boys is also significant. Estimates suggest that males account for 25-35% of child sexual abuse victims.4 Factors that may increase a child’s risk of sexual abuse include being between the ages of 7 and 134, having the absence of a parent from the home, and being a young child who appears isolated, depressed, or lonely.5 There also exist common characteristics of the families in which sexual abuse of children occur. They include social isolation, the presence of a domineering father, an absent mother (either physically or emotionally), few role boundaries, and parents with a history of being physically or sexually abused as children. Furthermore, a child is also at increased risk if he or she is forced to assume the parenting role at an inappropriate age.1



Who are the perpetrators?


The majority of sexual abuse of children is done by someone the child knows.6 Sexual abuse can occur within the family (by a parent, step-parent, guardian, older sibling, or relative) or outside the family (often by a person well known by the child and family).1 Looking at a number of retrospective surveys, results have indicated that no more than 10-30% of the offenders were strangers.4 In 90% of child sexual abuse cases, the offenders are male and are often described as being unassertive, withdrawn, and emotionless. Other common characteristics include a history of abuse (either physical or sexual), alcohol or drug abuse, little satisfaction with sexual relationships with adults, lack of control over their emotions, and occasionally mental illness. These offenders usually create opportunities to be alone with a child.1 Females can also be the perpetrators. However, they tend to use persuasion rather than force or the threat of force (threats of physical force or actual force are more common with male page 2 perpetrators and older victims).7 Interestingly, boys are more likely than girls to be abused by a female.8



What are the signs/effects?


Although children who have experienced sexual abuse may be too frightened to tell anyone, there are physical and behavioral signs that may be seen.6 Physical signs are vaginal or rectal bleeding, pain, itching, swelling, or discharge1,6; difficulty with bowel movements, urinating, or swallowing; recurring complaints of stomach-aches and/or headaches; and trauma to breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen, or genital or rectal areas.1 Their undergarments may also be torn, stained, or bloody.1,6 They may have vaginal infections or venereal diseases, and they may display difficulty in walking or sitting.6 Behavioral signs are extreme changes in behavior (loss of appetite, eating disorder, clingingness, withdrawal, aggressiveness); recurrent nightmares, disturbed sleep patterns, or a sudden fear of the dark; regression to infantile behavior (bedwetting, thumb sucking, excessive crying); fear of a particular person or fear of being left alone with a particular person or at a particular place; frequent lying, and delinquent behavior or a fall in grades at school. These children may also express unusual interest in or knowledge about sexual matters, express affection in inappropriate ways (for a child his or her age), and even engage other children in sexual activities or act out sexual behaviors (such as intercourse or masturbation). In addition, the victims may have poor relationships with other children, a lack of self-confidence, and the desire to engage in self destructive behavior (biting oneself, pulling out hair, wrist-cutting).1,6



What can be done?


If sexual abuse of a child is suspected, it should be reported to a child protective service or to the police. Any professional who fails to report a suspected case of abuse may face criminal charges for not reporting their suspicion. However, it is not the responsibility of the person suspecting abuse to prove that abuse has occurred.1 It is important for the victims to receive medical attention for injuries or complaints, support for their situation, and to not be blamed for the sexual abuse.1 It is also important for these children to receive professional help from those trained to counsel sexually abused children.6




1 “Sexual Abuse & Young Children”, Florida Center for Parent Involvement (website:


2 “Child Abuse and Neglect Statistics”. Chicago, National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse (1998).

3 Sedlak, A. & Broadhurst, D. Executive Summary of the Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and

Neglect. Westat, Inc. (1996).

4 Finkelhor, D. “Answers to Important Questions about the Scope and Nature of Child Sexual Abuse”, Future of

Children. 1994; 4(2). Los Altos, CA: David and Lucille Packard Foundation.

5 Basic Facts About Child Sexual Abuse. Chicago, National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse (1996).

6 “Recognizing Sexual Abuse of Children: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers”, Ryther Child Center (website:


7 Holmes, W.C. & Slap, G.B. “Sexual Abuse of Boys: Definition, Prevalence, Sequelae, and Management”.

Journal of the American Medical Association. 1998; 280 (21): 1855-1872.

8 Godfrey, Max. “The Boy”. May, 1997. Website: http://olbers.kent.edu/godfrey/Public/Sar/sar.html.


Courtesy of: http://www.preventchildabuse.org


The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.


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