Imagine being a young child. Picture that someone is mistreating you, and you are
completely unable to retaliate in any way. Imagine what would be running through
your mind, all of the fear and hatred that you can do nothing with except hold it all
inside. The United States government defines child abuse specifically as any
recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death,
serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation to any individual
who has not attained the age of 18 years, or an act or failure to act which presents
an imminent risk of serious harm to any individual who has not attained the age of
18 years (Petit 28). This is a serious problem that destroys the lives of innocent
Statistics show that 903,395 children were confirmed as being abused in the
United States during 1997 alone, and there were 1,439,284 reported instances of
abuse in the United States (Statistics of.
..). Those numbers add out to be in the
neighborhood of 1.54% of the nations children being abused daily (Statistics of..
Child abuse also accounts for nearly 57.5% of fatalities to children under the age of
five (Child Maltreatment). Experts also say that 87.1% of abused children are
abused by both the mother and father (Statistics of.
..). Roughly 2.7% of child
abuse occurs in foster care (Statistics of..
The most abundant form of child abuse is neglect. Neglect accounts for
53.5% of child abuse nationwide (Child Maltreatment). Neglect is defined as:
a child less than 18 years of age whose physical, mental or emotional
condition has been impaired or is in danger of becoming impaired as a result
of the failure of the child’s legal guardian to exercise a minimum degree of
care in supplying the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or education
or medical care.
Neglect also occurs when the legal guardian fails to provide
the child with proper supervision or guardianship by allowing the child to be
harmed, or to be at risk of harm which includes when the guardian misuses
drugs or alcohol him/herself. (Neglected Child)
Children who fall victim to neglect feel that their parents have no time for them.
The psychological aspects of this type of abuse is that the child or children affected
typically try to get attention at school or somewhere away from home, are
abnormally aggressive, and become somewhat maniacal when left alone for long
periods of time (Understanding Child…).
The second type of child abuse is physical abuse, which is responsible for
22.7% of total abuse cases that were confirmed. Physical Abuse is characterized by
the infliction of physical injury as a 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 (Child Maltreatment). The most common way to indicate a
physically abused child is notable marks on the body, such as bruises, cuts, and
knots. The main behavioral indication of physical abuse is the child is far too
aggressive when they are not around his or her parents.
They also tend to pick on
others, but get extremely angry when someone else picks on them (Understanding
Sexual abuse is the third type of child abuse, which accounts for 11.5% of all
confirmed abuse cases. Sexual abuse includes fondling a childs genitals,
intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation
through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials. Many experts
believe that sexual abuse is the most under-reported form of child maltreatment
because of the secrecy that so often characterizes these cases (Child
Maltreatment). Sexually abused children are extremely frightened at the sight of the
abuser, and are extremely timid when confronted with a chance to develop a close
relationship. Victims are given low self-esteem, and will often think they are
Common indicators of sexually abused children include individualism,
increased shyness, and greater dependence on a non-abusive person present in their
The final type of child abuse is emotional abuse. This abuse is responsible
for about 6.2% of all abuse cases. Emotional abuse includes acts or omissions by
the parents or other caregivers that have caused, or could cause, serious behavioral,
cognitive, 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. (Child Maltreatment) Less severe acts, such .