Physical abuse is any direct physical act that inflicts pain on a child and endangers the child’s health and welfare. Examples of physical abuse are hitting, beating with a strap or other object, burning, shaking violently, strangling, or knocking a child to the floor or down the stairs. The child grows up having to be fearful every time the abuser. The child never knows what will prompt a parent or care taker’s violent actions.
Emotional abuse is the next type of child abuse. Emotional abuse is defined as neglecting children by withholding love and affection. The abuser undermines a child’s self confidence through negative behavior and comments. Comments would include statements like, “you are no good,” or “you are stupid.” Emotionally abused children believe they have no worth, and begin lacking any self confidence. Emotional abuse also occurs more often if the parents or abusers abuse drugs or alcohol.
Sexual abuse is one of the most common types of child abuse. The abuser can be a parent, step-parent, family friend, or family members. Sexual abuse is noted as initiating unwanted and inappropriate sexual contact with the child. An adult may force a child to undress, touch a child in a sexual way, or force a child to engage in a sexual touching or intercourse.
Endangerment is the final type of child abuse. Endangerment is considered leaving a child unattended in a vehicle, driving intoxicated with a child in the vehicle, serving alcohol to an underage driver, drug manufacturing in the presence of a child, and failure to report suspected child abuse.
All of these types of child abuse have potentially devastating effects on the children involved. Children are affected physically, mentally, and socially following an abuse. Children who are abused are more likely to experience poor physical health; they may suffer from allergies, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, high blood pressure, and ulcers. Also abused children age more rapidly and have shorter life expectancies than those who do not. Children who are abused tend to be aggressive and violent. Children who are abused also have a better chance of becoming alcoholics. Thirty-three percent of males and twenty-four percent of female alcoholics have been physically abused. Twelve percent of males and forty-nine percent of females being treated for alcoholism have been sexually abused. Also five percent of males and twenty-three percent of females had experienced sexual and physical abuse. Mental affects are also common in children associated with abuse. Children as young as three may show signs of depression.