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Child Abuse

Child Abuse in Temple

Child abuse can be legally defined as a parent or caretaker's act, or the failure to act, on behalf of the child that results in the death, serious physical or emotional injury, and sexual abuse, exploitation of a child, or that which places a child in imminent risk of serious harm. In plain English, it is the physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment or neglect of a child.

In the United States, neglect is often defined as the failure to meet the basic needs of the child including food, clothing, housing and access to medical care. Unfortunately, the statistics are discouraging; the United States ranks lowest among all industrial nations with respect to the care and well-being of children. Each year there are 3 million abuse complaints filed involving more than 6 million children; a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds in the U.S. and five children die every day from abuse.

Forms of Child Abuse

Child abuse can take many forms including psychological or emotional abuse, physical abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse.

  • Psychological and Emotional Abuse - includes emotional abuse that is 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.
  • Physical Abuse - includes physical aggression directed at a child by an adult causing physical injury such as bruising, scratching, breaking bones, lacerations or burns.
  • Neglect – includes the failure of the parent or caretaker to provide the basic necessities such as food, shelter, medical care, clothing or adequate supervision to the degree that a child’s health or safety is threatened with harm. It can also come in the form of lack of attention or lack of love and nurturing.
  • Sexual Abuse – occurs when a sexual act with a child is intended for physical gratification or financial profit of another, a child is abused for sexual stimulation, is urged or pressured into engaging in some form of sexual act, indecent exposure, is exposed to pornography or any form of viewing or sexual contact with the child or their genitalia.

Signs and Symptoms of Child Abuse

Child abuse can cause many psychological problems including nightmares, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety, addictive behavior, self esteem issues, dysfunctional behavior, and post traumatic stress disorder.  Unfortunately, children who are abused will often experience difficulty in forming and maintaining relationships as adults.

Anyone can report suspicions of abuse or neglect. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, reporting your suspicions can save the child and provide help to a family in crisis. Signs of abuse or neglect may include a child who:

  • Is often dirty and lacking sufficient clothing for the weather
  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
  • Lacks treatment for medical or dental problems
  • Has signs of repeated or multiple injuries at different stages of healing
  • Begs or steals food
  • Suffers from learning problems that do not have a physical or psychological cause
  • Is always watchful or wary
  • Is overly-passive, compliant or is withdrawn
  • Is reluctant to be around a particular person or persons
  • Is frequently absent from school
  • Arrives at school or other activities early, stays late, or does not want to go home
  • Reports abuse or neglect to others
  • Lacks adult supervision


 

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