Child Abuse or Neglect

Is the physical, emotional, sexual abuse or neglect of a child. It includes acts of commission or omission by a parent or caregiver. There are four main types of child abuse:

1. Neglect: happens when the parent does not provide adequately for a child's various needs including physical (adequate food, clothing, or hygiene), emotional (not providing nurture or affection), educational (not enrolling a child in school), or medical (not medicating a child or taking him to a doctor).

2. Physical abuse: is physical aggression directed at a child. It can include: punching, striking, kicking, shoving, slapping, bruising, burning, pulling ears or hair, stabbing, choking, biting or shaking a child.

3. Child Sexual Abuse: occurs when an adolescent or adult abuses a child for sexual purposes. Sexual abuse of a child can occur as early as when the child is a baby, and may extend until adulthood. Forms of child sexual abuse include: asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities; indecent exposure of genitals to a child; showing a child pornography; actual sexual contact with a child; touching a child's genitals; viewing a child's genitals without physical contact; using a child to produce pornography; and selling the sexual services of a child. Performing sexual acts in front of a child is also considered sexual abuse. Physical contact is not necessary for sexual abuse to occur. A mother who treats her son as her husband, and makes sexual references to his body, can make the boy uncomfortable and be considered emotional sexual abuse; even without touching the boy. A father who makes remarks about his daughter's sexual development, comments or obviously looks at certain parts or her body, or the bodies of her friends; is committing emotional sexual abuse. 

4. Emotional abuse: emotional abuse can include name calling, ridicule, degradation, destruction of personal belongings, torture or destruction of a pet, excessive criticism, excessive demands, not speaking to the child, or humiliation. Emotional abuse can lead an adult who suffered emotional abuse to not have the ability to form close relationships. The abused child may internalize the perpetrators abusive words,  blame himself for the abuse; feel helpless and develop overly passive behavior. Treatment may include trauma focused CBT, EMDR, and Child and Family Therapy.

The results of child sexual abuse include: self blame, flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, fear of things associated with the abuse, low self-esteem, sexual dysfunction, chronic pain, addictions, self-injury, suicidal ideation, body complaints, PTSD, anxiety, personality disorders, multiple personality disorder and a propensity to sexually abuse children when the abused child becomes an adult.

Child abuse leads to problems in adulthood and can include different physical problems; such as chronic head pain, abdominal, pelvic or muscular pain. Physical disorders are not usually identified as related to child abuse by the victim or the treating physician.