“Child Abuse is any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual injury or harm that causes or is likely to cause the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired” (Mayo Clinic, 2012). There are four types of child abuse: physical, which involves bodily harm inflicted on the child; neglect, which involves the absence of parental care; psychological or emotional, which involves actions that cause mental anguish or deficits; and sexual, which is any sexual act or sexual threat imposed on a child or young person.
The following are some of the signs and symptoms of child abuse; Sleep problems, disruptions in eating, difficulty separating from caretakers, school difficulties, anxiety and aggression, preoccupation with details of traumatic event and problems with attention and hyperactivity. These are some of the indicators of Child Abuse – They are questionable bruises and welts, questionable burns, and questionable fractures. In the United States of America, thirty years of child abuse prevention efforts have not reduced the prevalence of childhood trauma and abuse. Investment in primary prevention has been limited, and secondary and tertiary forms of prevention have targeted the poor, implicitly locating the burden of abuse in impoverished and marginalized communities. Public health and health promotion principles have been inconsistently applied to child abuse prevention, and child abuse is often framed as a symptom of family dysfunction and disadvantage, rather than a set of harmful behaviors that need to be identified and changed. Primary prevention requires simultaneous effort on multiple levels to promote, and sustain, lasting social and behavioral change. We need approaches that accept that child abuse is a widespread and harmful social practice that is reinforced every day by long-standing and problematic cultural beliefs and values. There a number of ways child abuse can be prevented: Be a nurturing parent. Children need to know that they are special, loved and capable of following their dreams. Learn about how children grow and mature and have realistic expectations of what the child can and cannot do. Help a friend, neighbor or relative. Being a parent isn’t easy. Someone you know may be struggling with his or her parenting responsibilities. Respect kids and treat them the same way you want to be treated. Get involved by advocating for services to families. Help to establish parenting groups in the community. Help to develop parenting resources at the local library – films, books, and information. There should be promotional programs in schools. Being a volunteer at a local child abuse program can also help to prevent child abuse. There are many family support centers that need volunteers; crisis centers need volunteers to help families under stress. Lastly report suspected abuse or neglect. Keeping children safe is the responsibility of every adult in the community. The impacts of child abuse, physical or psychological can be devastating. The USA Surgeon General states under the category of mental health… “severe and repeated trauma during youth may have enduring effects upon both neurobiological and psychological development altering stress responsivity and altering adult behavior patterns … these individuals experience a greatly increased risk of mood, anxiety and personality disorders throughout adult life”(ASCA, 2015).