Monday, 1 October 2012

Child Abuse: Are your Children Safe?

Child Abuse

Child abuse is defined as the wilful and unjustifiable infliction of pain and suffering on children. It can take many different forms. These not only include sexual and physical abuse, but also emotional abuse and neglect.

There are five documented types of child abuse:
Emotional abuse
Emotional abuse is a chronic pattern of behaviour such as belittling, humiliating and ridiculing a child. It is also the consistent failure of parents or caretakers to provide a child with appropriate support, attention and affection.
Emotional neglect
Emotional neglect is the consistent failure of parents or caretakers to provide a child with appropriate support, attention and affection.
Physical neglect
Physical neglect is the failure to provide children with adequate food, clothing, shelter and medical care. Physical neglect also includes abandonment, expulsion from home and failure to enrol children in school. It is important to distinguish between wilful neglect and a parent’s failure to provide the necessities of life because of poverty and cultural norms.
Physical abuse
Physical abuse is defined as acts of physical assault by parents, caretakers or strangers. Physical abuse includes: cuts, fractures, bruises, shaking, burns and internal injuries.
Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse is defined as acts of sexual assault and sexual exploitation of minors by parents, caregivers or strangers. It may consist of a single incident or many incidents over a long period of time. It includes fondling a child’s genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy exhibitionism and sexual exploitation.

Child sexual abuse is not just rape. It includes fondling, voyeurism, and exposure to and participation in child pornography and child prostitution.

All cases of the rape of young children involve force. It can involve the perpetrator hitting, hurting, smothering or threatening the child while forcing penetration. Usually, the younger the child, the more serious the physical injury.

Sexual abuse and harassment are major problems in South African schools. One of the important causes of this problem is a strong societal belief that women are subordinate to men. This increases the risk of sexual domination by men in the home, school and community. To reduce sexual violence in schools, a culture of respect for students, clear rules and clear consequences for perpetrators needs to be instilled.

Having to think about abuse of children is one of the worst things ever to happen to any parent, but it happens.

The majority of sexual abusers are male, but perpetrators can also be women. The scary truth is that abusers are often friends, acquaintances and even family members.

Physical Signs:

  • Any injury, soreness, redness, swelling or itching around the genital or anal area
  • Venereal disease
  • Fluctuations in body mass
  • Pregnancy

Behavioral Signs:

  • Inappropriate sexual play with self and others
  • Inappropriate sexually explicit drawings
  • Knowledge of sexual acts that is age-inappropriate
  • Seductive behaviour
  • Excessive masturbation
  • Double dressing
  • Avoidance of bathrooms
  • Late arrival or absence from school
  • Personality changes
  • Change in appetite
  • Sudden weight gain/loss
  • Self mutilation
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Locking doors
  • Very eager to please others (over-compliance)
  • Depression
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Nightmares
  • Not wanting friends to visit at home
  • Not wanting to go home or getting home too early
  • Promiscuity
  • Prostitution
  • Running away

It is important to note that children who have been sexually abused may or may not exhibit signs and symptoms of the abuse. A child may also show one or more of the signs or symptoms listed, but may not have been sexually abused. If you are unsure, consult a professional.

Some signs of physical abuse

 Physical Signs:

  • Unexplained bruises or marks
  • Unexplained burns
  • Fractures
  • Lacerations (cuts)
  • Abdominal injuries
  • Bite marks
  • Bruises on the head
  • Unbelievable explanations for injuries
Behavioural Signs:

  • Child is nervous of physical contact with adults
  • Child cries when it is time to leave a protected environment
  • Absence from school
  • Double dressing
  • Habit disorders
  • Slowing down in intellectual and emotional development

Abuse of children take place anywhere in the world and if you suspect someone is being abused, please notify the responsible authorities. Say No to Child Abuse!

No comments:

Post a Comment