Child abuse affects one out of four children. A victim of child abuse becomes scarred for life, even though safe places and support lines are available. There are many children who are victims of several types of child abuse. Children become frightened and do not know what to do. Many times if they finally build up the courage to inform someone of the abuse, such as a school counselor or loved one, they are not believed or taken seriously. Every year thousands of children are abused, making child abuse just as common as it is shocking. Most people cannot imagine how an adult could hurt a child. Unfortunately, these types of harmful acts are happening daily to the very children who are supposed to be loved and nurtured by the adults around them. This is a sad fact of human society that has no boundaries.
The most brutal consequence of abusing a child is that the child himself does not know how to describe what has happened to him, and this confusion results in the shape of violence and frustration. When these victims enter the phase of adolescence and realize what has happened to them in the past, they feel guilty and unworthy. Many of the suicide attempts undertaken by teenagers are found out to be victims of this crime in their childhood.
Experts use the term child abuse as a blanket term for four different types of abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. More than one of these abuses can be inflicted on a child at one time. The prevalence of child abuse is frightening, and its impact on the social and emotional development of a child can be just as terrifying. Research shows that abused children and adolescents are more likely to suffer from emotional problems, develop an antisocial personality, and attempt suicide. Child abuse results in social and emotional problems that deprive the individual of a healthy life. (Baker).
Physical abuse is when a person causes physical harm to a child by beating, shaking, biting, kicking, burning, or otherwise causing the child physical pain in any other way. Although many times the parent or guardians did not intend to hurt their child, physical abuse can also be caused by physical punishment or over-discipline that is not suitable for the child's age. Physical abuse is the intentional use of force on any part of a child's body that causes serious injuries. It might be a single incident, or a series of similar incidents. If a child is physically abused, he or she will be easily frightened, have unexplained or repeated injuries such as welts, bruises, or burns, have injuries that are in the shape of an object, such as a belt buckle or an electric cord. The child may also be afraid to go home or cause harm to self or others.
Child neglect is the failure to meet the child's basic physical needs. This includes failing to provide appropriate nutrition, shelter, clothing, health care and protection from harm abuse is defined by failure to provide the child's primary needs. Obvious neglect of the child would be when the child often appears to be dirty, undernourished, has on inappropriate clothes for the weather, or lack of medical or dental care. Educational neglect includes permission for constant absence, failure to enroll a child in school, and inattention to special educational needs.
Emotional abuse includes chronic exposure to alcohol and drug abuse, verbal attacks on a child, continuous humiliation or spouse abuse in the child's presence, rejection of the child, and failure to provide needed psychological care. This type of abuse rarely happens only once and it is usually part of particular way of relating to children. Emotional abuse is any lack of care that causes serious harm to a child's development, and the failure to meet the child's emotional needs for affection and a sense of belonging. When a child is being emotionally abused they may show aggressive or withdrawn behavior, they may shy away