Child Abuse: A Preventative Problem

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In 1998, the national rate of victimization for child abuse was 15 per 1,000 children in the population. Child Abuse is the intentional use of physical force or intentional omission of care by a parent or caregiver that causes a child to be hurt, maimed, or killed. It has psychological effects that can be damaging for life. There are many types of abuse but two that stand out are physical and sexual abuse.

Two types of child abuse are physical and sexual abuse. Physical abuse is characterized by the infliction of physical injury as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking or otherwise harming a child. Sexual abuse includes fondling a child's genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism and commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.

Evidence of each form of child abuse can be found in children from birth. Professionals can pick up clues of possible maltreatment by observing the child at school or during routine conversations with parents.

Physical signs of abuse whether mild or severe involve the child's physical condition. Frequently, physical signs are bruises, bone injuries, or evidence of lack of care and malnutrition.

When suspecting child abuse you have to be careful. There are behavioral and physical signs that should be present. Just because someone notices two bruises on a child doesn't mean he or she was physically abused. There are many different behavioral signs and the signs can vary depending on the child. For example: Jackie is three years old and when she hears other kids crying she runs to her cubby and gets her blanket. She then sits there rocking back and forth repeating, "No hitting. No hitting." As Bavolek said " The consequences of abuse will vary with the development level of the child, the duration and...