Family Law

What is Child Abuse?

Child Abuse is the physical or psychological mistreatment of a child by his or her parents (including adoptive parents) guardians or other adults. While this term emphasizes on carrying out wrong acts a related term is child neglect: not doing what is necessary negligence. The combined problem area is soften called Child Abuse and neglect. Below the term abuse is used in the generalized meaning which also includes neglect. Child abuse occurs in all classes of society.

child_abuse_01
child_abuse_02
child_abuse_03
child_abuse_04

Maladjusted psychological need may drive an adult to abuse a child. One thing in common among different types and degrees of abuse is failure to consider a child’s long-term interest.

Imposing malnutrition on a child can be a form of abuse depending on severity. For example causing a child to forfeit breakfast one morning might not be considered child abuse.

Symptoms

Among the symptoms that various professionals sometimes ascribe to and seek as signs of child abuse are:

A. Emotional Abuse

  • Emotional withdrawal/distance
  • Parental refusal of needed medical care
  • Premature sexual/romantic promiscuity for girls
  • Lack of sexual interest (e.g. dating) for boys (with respect to age cultural and religious beliefs)
  • Shyness
  • Child seems afraid of parents/care givers
  • Stunting of mental/emotional growth
  • Failure to look people in the eye
  • Temper tantrums/violence
  • Speech and language difficulties

B. Neglect (Under protection)

  • General dirtiness
  • General unhealthiness
  • Lice fleas and similar parasites
  • Parental refusal of needed medical care
  • Stunting of mental/emotional growth
  • Too thin not within normal weight range for age and gender
  • Alcohol/drug abuse by parents/care givers
  • Parents/care givers often (but not always) have low education and income

C. Physical Abuse Emotional withdrawal/distance over aggressive behavior (especially boys) distinctively shaped scars most especially:

  • Any second-degree burn associated with stoves fire or boiling water
  • Belt buckles genital modification and mutilation circumference burns without splash burns
  • Cigarette/cigar burns
  • Spirals (as in a typical stovetop burner)
  • Whips (and similar objects)
  • Temper tantrums/violence
  • Parental refusal of needed medical care
  • Child seems afraid of parents/care givers
  • Bullying of other children
  • Alcohol abuse by parents/care givers
  • Shaken baby syndrome

D. Sexual Abuse (see also Age of consent)

  • Emotional withdrawal/distance
  • Iinjured vagina or anus
  • Semen in the vagina or anus
  • Parental refusal of needed medical care
  • Unusually early preoccupation with sex

E. Isolation and Over Protection

  • Emotional withdrawal/distance
  • Shyness; few if any friends
  • Stunting of mental/emotional growth
  • Excelling at school in younger years then gradually doing poorly in the teen years
  • Failure to look people in the eye
  • Temper tantrums/anger/violence directed only at parents/care givers (otherwise very well-behaved)
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Fearful and afraid of new relationships
  • Lack of sexual interest (e.g. dating) for boys (with respect to age cultural and religious beliefs)
  • Procrastination as the child becomes older and more independent
  • Unable to take care of self with respect to age
  • Being bullied by other children
  • Child rarely seen in public (except possibly school)
  • Parents/care givers often (but not always) well educated
  • Greater risk if family resides in outlying suburban or rural area