Child abuse
Child abuse is a very complex and dangerous set of problems that include child neglect and the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children. Although most people think first of physical abuse when they hear the term, physical abuse makes us 25 percent of reported cases. It is defined as physical injury inflicted upon the child with cruel and/or malicious intent, although the law recognizes that in some cases the parent or caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child; rather, the injury may have resulted from over-discipline or physical punishment. Physical abuse includes punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking, or otherwise harming a child. Fatal injuries from maltreatment can result from many different acts, including severe head trauma, shaken baby syndrome, trauma to the abdomen or chest, scalding, burns, drowning, suffocation, poisoning, etc. Many physically abused children suffer multiple injuries over the years, which may go untreated to cover up for the abuse. Child neglect is the most frequently reported form of child abuse and the most lethal. This form of abuse is defined as the failure to provide for the shelter, safety, supervision and nutritional needs of the child. Child neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional neglect. Physical neglect includes refusal of or delay in seeking health care, abandonment, expulsion from the home or refusal to allow a runaway to return home, and inadequate supervision. Educational neglect includes the allowance of chronic truancy, failure to enroll a child of mandatory school age in school, and failure to attend to a special educational need. Emotional neglect includes such actions as marked inattention to the child's needs for affection, refusal of or failure to provide needed psychological care, spouse abuse in the child's presence, and permission of drug or alcohol use by the child. Physical abuse is the second most frequently reported form of child abuse and is defined as physical injury inflicted upon the child with cruel and/or malicious intent. Physical abuse can be the result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking, or otherwise harming a child. The parent or caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child, rather the injury may have resulted from over-discipline or physical punishment. Emotional abuse is the third most frequently reported form of child abuse and includes acts or omissions by the parents or other caregivers that could cause serious behavioral, emotional, or mental disorders. For example, the parents/caregivers may use extreme or bizarre forms of punishment, such as confinement of a child in a dark closet. Emotional child abuse is also sometimes termed psychological child abuse, verbal child abuse, or mental injury of a child. Sexual abuse is the least frequently reported form of child abuse and is believed to be the most under-reported type of child maltreatment because of the secrecy or "conspiracy of silence" that so often characterizes these cases. Sexual abuse includes fondling a child's genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.

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the maltreatment of children. It may take the form of sexual abuse, when a child is involved in sexual activity by an adult; physical abuse, when physical injury is caused by cruelty or undue punishment (see nonaccidental injury); neglect, when basic physical provision for needs is lacking; and emotional abuse, when lack of affection and/or hostility from caregivers damage a child's emotional development (see <

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physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of children, usually by parents, relatives, or caretakers. See also battered-child syndrome, under syndrome.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • child abuse — n: abuse (2) Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. child abuse …   Law dictionary

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  • child abuse — In its most general sense, child abuse refers to the maltreatment or injury of a child by an adult or adults. Such abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, or a combination of all three. It might be perpetrated by one person or by several,… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • child abuse — noun the physical or emotional or sexual mistreatment of children • Hypernyms: ↑maltreatment, ↑ill treatment, ↑ill usage, ↑abuse * * * ˈchild abuse [child abuse] noun …   Useful english dictionary

  • child abuse — child a.buse n [U] the crime of harming a child physically, sexually, or emotionally …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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  • child abuse — the maltreatment of children. It may take the form of sexual abuse, when a child is involved in sexual activity by an adult; physical abuse, when physical injury is caused by cruelty or undue punishment (see nonaccidental injury); neglect, when… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • child abuse — noun /ˈtʃaɪldəbjuːs/ The physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment of a child. Abdominal trauma can also result from and is the second leading cause of related death, after traumatic brain injury …   Wiktionary

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