Every child is special. They were born as a wonderful gift from God, thus, as special as they are, they should be treated with love, care and full of affection. In this world, however, we cannot deny the fact that there really are evil people who do not think that children are special. There are those who think of children as noisy nuisance or simply something that should not exist. Truth be told, these people can be anyone, including the child’s parents, family members, teachers or random strangers.
Child abuse has been an increasing concern for all of us in the past years now, and it is still growing and growing even with all of the things that many organizations and private individuals do to help lessen such cases. One of the things to help lessen cases of child abuse is the use of child abuse clearance. This clearance is required from people when they want to work or volunteer with children. This is also used to distinguish if a person has a history of child abuse or none. Unfortunately, even with the presence of child abuse clearance and how they may affect an individual indicted as an abuser, there are still people who abuse children without any fear.
For people like us who has a heart for children and care for their well-being, it is important to distinguish the different signs of child abuse so that we will be able to identify cases as well as offer help to the needy child. Knowing the signs of child abuse will help the abused child in more ways than you can imagine, especially if he/she will be able to obtain his/her freedom from the abuser.
15 Facts About Child Abuse That May Shock You
- There are more than 3 million reported cases of child abuse in the United States annually.
- 3% adults reported to be physically abused in their childhood days.
- 7% adults reported to be sexually abused in their childhood days.
- 6% adults reported to be emotionally abused in their childhood days.
- There were 25,000 to 50,000 children in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, that had been abandoned because of witchcraft accusations.
- The Cross River State and Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria had 15,000 children accused as witches.
- In South Korea, the rate of child abuse has increased to 13% in 2015 compared to its 2014 record. 75% of these reported cases were abused by their own parents. However, due to South Korean culture, this forceful parenting is not seen as abuse and may only be deemed as a parents’ duty to discipline the child. This kind of parenting is also evident in other Asian cultures such as China, Japan, Vietnam and Singapore.
- There are approximately 215 million children worldwide who work, and many of them as full-time workers according to the International Labor Organization.
- Approximately 5 children die daily due to child abuse.
- 2% of the person responsible for child abuse is between the ages 18-44, while the remaining 39.6% is between 25-34 years old.
- 90% of children being abused know the abuser in some way, and 68% of these sexually abused children were abused by their own family members.
- 80% of people aged 21 years old who were abused as a child met the criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
- Children being abused are at high risk for sexually transmitted disease as they are less likely to practice safe sex.
- 25% of abused children will experience teen pregnancy.
- Around $7 trillion US dollars is lost because of violence against children every year, and this is equivalent to 8% of our global GDP.
What is child abuse?
Wikipedia defined child abuse as the “physical, sexual, or psychological maltreatment or neglect of a child or children, especially by a parent or other caregiver.” Given this definition, it is evident that the child is being treated unfairly and very poorly by those very people who should care for him/her. Child abuse may also mean any act or failure to act things that lead to actual or potential danger to the child in any settings.
Child abuse does not only mean the physical abuses the child may get. It can also encompass other abuses such as emotional, sexual, and other negligence done to the child. With all of these abuses going around, knowing the different specific signs of the various abuses will help us pinpoint what it is that the child really suffers from.
It is the deliberate physical force or action done by a parent or caregiver which resulted in or may result in an injury or harm to the child. Injury may include bruises, cuts, biting, punching, slapping, beating, burning, shaking or throwing off the child. Punishing the child with belts, sticks and other such physical objects that may inflict serious harm is also treated as abuse. The different signs of physical abuse to a child are the following:
- Injury to a baby that does not even know how to crawl yet
- Presence of severe and visible injuries
- Distinctive shape
- Injuries with different stages of healing
- Injuries on different areas of the body
- Can’t explain where the injuries came from, or may explain senselessly
- Child becomes aggressive towards peers and animals
- Afraid of parents or other adults
- Wears long sleeves even if it is hot
- Exhibits fear, depression and anxiety
- May be withdrawn
- Violent themes being expressed in art
- Insomnia and nightmares
- Reports of injury or being severely disciplined by the adult
- Self-destructive behavior
- Acts immaturely and have emotional and behavior extremes
Signs of physical abuse in parent or caregiver
- History of violence or abuse
- Keeps child away from school, clubs, church or other organizations
- Takes child to various doctors and hospitals
- Prevents or delays medical care intended for the child
- Unexplainable or senseless explanations of the child’s injuries
- Anxious of child’s behavior
- Shows aggression to the child
- Says that child is liar, evil, troublemaker or not to be trusted
Abuse may also occur sexually when the abused child is used for sexual pleasures of the adult or other older children. This abuse include actual sexual intercourse, fondling for sexual purposes, indecent phone calls to the child, exposing a child’s private part, child pornography, child prostitution and watching a child undress for sexual gratification. A child being abused sexually may have the following signs:
- Experiencing bowel problems
- Difficulty in sitting and walking
- Torn, bloody and stained undergarments
- Genital area may bleed, swell, and itch
- Bruises and pain in the genital area
- Presence of sexually transmitted disease or related symptoms
- Frequent yeast infections or urinary tract infection
- Child may not want to change his/her clothes
- Feels depressed and anxious
- May be withdrawn
- Verbally reports being abused sexually
- Sexual behavior or knowledge that is advanced for the child’s age
- Unusual soothing behaviors
- Poor relationships with his/her peers
- Eating disorders and preoccupied with his/her body
- Being absent all of a sudden from school and other activities
- Sleep disturbance problems, nightmares and bed wetting for older children
- Sexual acting out
- Masturbates excessively
- Substance abuse and suicide attempts
Signs of sexual abuse in parent or caregiver
- Unstable adult presence
- Parent relies on child for emotional support
- Dysfunctional or troubled sexual relationships
- Parent who is overly jealous or possessive
- Fails to supervise child