4 Types of Abuse
No one likes to think about child abuse. But by understanding the types of abuse and some of the possible indicators, everyone can become more informed by learning how to recognize the signs of abuse and what to do about it.
Physical Abuse is one type of abuse that results in an injury to the child. Physical abuse injuries can range from bruising to fractures. It may even result in a child’s death. Examples of physical abuse are hitting, kicking, beating, punching, burning or choking. Victims of physical abuse may also be stabbed or shaken. Some of the warning indicators of physical abuse are:
- frequent injuries such as black eyes or bruises ( without explanation)
- a lack of reaction to pain from the child
- a fear of going home
- unseasonable clothing (in order to hide injuries)
Emotional Abuse is emotional harm to a child that will result in impairment to a child’s mental well being. Examples of emotional abuse are restricting a child to a dark or confined space, name calling, and threatening harm to a child. Some indicators that are seen in children who are emotionally abused include:
- difficulty in peer relationships
- poor self esteem
- over compliance
- lack of attachment to a parent
Sexual Abuse is perhaps the most difficult type of abuse for others to acknowledge and realize that it may actually be occurring. Sexual abuse can include exposing a child to pornography, touching a child inappropriately or having a child touch someone else inappropriately, sexual penetration or incest. Children who are victims of sexual abuse may exhibit the following:
- display an advanced knowledge of sexual matters at a young age
- sexualized behaviors during play
- fearful of being alone with certain adults
- may victimize other children through sexual acts
Child Neglect may not be as easy to identify as some of the other types of abuse. Neglect does not necessarily include poverty or a parent’s financial inability to provide for the child. However, neglect does occur when a caregiver fails to meet a child’s basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, and safety. It appears that many children who are in foster care for neglect often have parents involved in substance abuse. Children who are neglected may be
- malnourished and lack good personal hygiene
- left alone for long periods of time.
- steal, beg for, or hoard food
- have multiple absences from school
By expanding our knowledge of the types and indicators of abuse, we as teachers, caregivers, neighbors and friends can help protect children from abusive situations.
If you ever suspect abuse, call and report your concerns to the Texas Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400. This can be done anonymously and you could potentially save a child’s life.
Kay Stout is a Foster Care Case Manager for Buckner Children and Family services in Longview. As a case manger she provides advocacy and support for both the foster children and foster families. She works closely with Child Protective Services to ensure the children placed with Buckner are receiving all necessary services to ensure their well being and success. Kay has been with Buckner since 2001.