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  • House Collective SD

Types of Child Abuse

Most of us are familiar with the most well widely recognized types of child abuse---physical and sexual abuse. Did you know that there are other types of abuse that actually can equally serious effects on a child? Let's look at the major types of child abuse and learn a little more about each.

Physical abuse is the deliberate infliction of physical injury on a child. The evidence of physical abuse is often spotted by mandated reporters, like teaches, nurses and physicians. The injuries can range from bruises to broken bones or even death. Physical abuse of a child includes punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap or other object), burning or otherwise harming a child that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver or other person who has responsibility for the child. Even if the caregiver did not intend to hurt the child, an injury to that child is considered physical abuse; however, physical discipline like spanking, is not considered abuse if it is reasonable and does not cause injury to the child.

Neglect occurs when the parent, guardian or other caregiver do not provide for a child's most basic needs. They may fail to provide food or shelter or supervision or they may not get necessary medical or mental health treatment for the child or they may fail to educate a child or attend to a child's special education needs. Emotional neglect occurs when a caregiver does not pay attention to a child's emotional needs or provide psychological care or allows a child to use alcohol or other drugs. Neglect can have serious consequences for a child, especially a child between the ages of birth and 5 because this is the time when their brain is most able to absorb information and learning. If a caregiver is not paying attention to a young child and neglecting their basic needs, research has shown that permanent brain dysfunction and development can develop. Neglect is one of the most frequently reported and investigated forms of child abuse. In many ways, especially for very young children, it can be the most damaging and have the most long lasting consequences.

Sexual abuse includes activities by a parent or care giver such as foundling, penetration, incest, rape, sodomy, indecent exposure, and exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic material. The effects of sexual abuse for a child are serious and long lasting. Many will never fully recover emotionally and psychologically.

Abandonment, once considered a form of neglect, happens when a parent's identity or whereabouts are unknown, the child has been left alone in circumstances where the child suffers serious harm, or the parent failed to maintain contact with the child to provide reasonable support for a specified period of time. 

Substance abuse on the part of a parent or guardian is considered a form of child abuse. Substance abuse by the parent is child abuse when there is prenatal exposure of a child to harm due to the mother's use of an illegal drug or other substance, the manufacture of methamphetamine in the presence of a child, selling, distributing or giving illegal drugs or alcohol to a child. use of a controlled substance by a caregiver that impairs the caregiver's ability to adequately care for the child.

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