This essay is about the different forms of child abuse.

Essay by swelchUniversity, Bachelor's February 2003

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Child abuse is a common term for four types of child maltreatment: sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, and neglect. Children are usually victims of more than one type of abuse. They could be both sexually and emotionally abused or they could also be physically abused and neglected. In some severe cases, children may suffer from more than two forms of abuse.

Child abuse was once viewed as a minor social problem that only affected a handful of U.S. children. In recent years the media and law enforcement has paid close attention to the issue. More than 1,000 children died from abuse in 1996, in the U.S. (1).

Approximately 231 children are abused each day. That is 10 children every hour, and one child every six minutes. Each day in the United States, more than three children die as a result of child abuse, in the home.

More children, age four and younger, die from child abuse and neglect than any other single, leading cause of death for infants and young children (1).

The abusers can be family members, parents, caretakers such as babysitters and teachers, and strangers. Abuse occurs among all ethnic, social, and income groups. Most parents don't hurt or neglect their children intentionally. Many were themselves abused or neglected. Usually the cases that are reported involve poor families with little education. Also common in reports are young mothers, single-parent families, and parental drug or alcohol abuse. The frequency of child abuse is difficult to estimate, due to so many cases going unreported.

There are signs, symptoms, and causes to all four types of child abuse. When you have a concern for a child's well-being, the signs or symptoms may help guide you in the process of reporting. Although, these signs, mentioned later, don't necessarily...