Child Abuse Lawyers in Fort Worth
Child abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment or neglect of a child or children. The Centers for Disease Control defines child abuse as any act or series of acts that results in harm, potential harm, or threat of harm to a child. In the United States, neglect is defined as the failure to meet the basic needs of the child including food, clothing, housing and access to medical care. The statistics are discouraging, with the United States ranking lowest among industrial nations with respect to the well-being and care of children. There are 3.3 million abuse hotline referral calls made annually affecting one out of every ten families.
Child abuse takes place in four major categories: neglect, physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, and sexual abuse.
Neglect is the failure of the parent or caretaker to provide the necessities of living such as food, shelter, medical care, clothing or adequate supervision to the degree that a child’s health or safety are threatened with harm. Neglect can also come in the form of lack of attention or lack of love and nurturing. Signs of neglect often include frequent absences from school, the child is often dirty or bedraggled and lacks sufficient clothing for the weather, begs or steals food, and lacks medical or dental care.
Neglected children often experience delayed physical and psychosocial development, resulting in impaired neuropsychological functions that include executive function, processing speed, language, memory, attention, and social skills.
Physical abuse is physical aggression directed at a child by an adult causing physical injury such as bruising, scratching, breaking bones, lacerations or burns. Repeated mishaps and rough treatment, multiple injuries, or broken bones at different stages of healing raise suspicion of child abuse and warrant further investigation. The Human Rights Committee of the United Nations has stated that the prohibition of degrading treatment or punishment extends to the corporal punishment of children and twenty-two countries have banned the use of corporal punishment of children.
Emotional abuse is any psychologically abnormal behavior aimed at a child including harsh criticism, denigration, coarse or rude attitude or insults, loud yelling, routine humiliation, destruction of personal property, or the torture of killing of a beloved pet. Victims of abuse will often try to protect themselves by distancing themselves from the abuser or internalizing abusive words. Emotional abuse often results in learned helplessness, abnormal or disrupted attachment development, self blame and an overly passive personality.
The sexual abuse of children is child abuse when a sexual act with a child is intended for physical gratification or financial profit of another. It is also abuse when an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation. In addition, the urging or pressuring of a child to engage in some form of sexual act is abuse including the act of indecent exposure, the display of pornography, or any form of viewing or sexual contact with the child or their genitalia.
Child abuse can cause many psychological problems including nightmares, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, depression, self esteem issues, addictive behavior, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder to name just a few. Unfortunately, children who have been abused often have difficulty forming and maintaining relationships as adults due to the lack of attachment they experienced in their childhood