Children are blessings and gifts to us. Because of this, it is of a high necessity that they enjoy all the maximum attention they need. Child abuse refers to deliberate or unintended maltreatment or disregard(neglect) of a child below the age of 18 by a parent or caregiver.
Child abuse has serious effects on children and it leaves indelible marks on them both physically and emotionally. This maltreatment and neglect meted out to these children can be in several forms or ways. Some of these ways are; physical, emotional, sexual, and deliberate negligence.
FORMS OF CHILD ABUSE
1. PHYSICAL ABUSE:
This refers to the intentional application of physical force to harm a child or to punish a child for a wrong deed done. This force applied can harm the child directly or it carries the tendency to do so. Parents or caregivers who abuse their children physically by extreme physical punishment assume that it helps to train the children.
To them, the more severe the punishment, the more lessons the child will learn and the more controlled the child becomes. This is obviously wrong since the only benefits of extreme physical punishment are fear and marks or scars that remain on the children for almost throughout the rest of their lives.
Some famous examples of physical abuse are; slapping, suffocating a child, tying children down, hitting children with objects like belts, biting children and pulling off their ears or hair. Abusive individuals or parents can punish their children anytime they desire or want without any specific notice to the child on what they did wrong (unexpected punishments).
This is a form of child abuse which is characterized by the inability or failure of a parent or caregiver of a child to provide the necessary physical and emotional needs which in turn affects the well-being of the child negatively.
Some of the physical needs of a child are; shelter, food, clothing, medical care, etc. Also, there is a lack of attention and supervision on the parts of the parents or caregivers which may leave the child’s life in harm’s way.
Acts of negligence can be in a lot of forms and some of them are; lack of physical support, low attention or lack of effective supervision of the child, lack of emotional support, abandoning the child. Children who are neglected normally have serious effects such as; delay in physical growth and development. They also develop emotional, social and psychological impairments.
3. PSYCHOLOGICAL OR EMOTIONAL ABUSE:
This refers to a type of child abuse that occurs when the actions, character or words of a parent or caregiver communicates to the child that he or she is useless, worthless, and unwanted. Although most situations and incidences of psychological abuses are not easily seen or noted, they have significant harming effects on the entire life of a child.
These actions cause harm to the child both mentally, socially, and physically. Examples of these acts and actions are; name-calling, public humiliation and ridicule, isolation from other children, criticism, inattention, harsh words, insults, bullying, blackmail, and lack of affirming words and love. It is a very serious form of abuse and its effects are most devastating on the child.
4. SEXUAL ABUSE:
Sexual abuse should not only be seen as an abuse of a child in actual sexual activities alone. This happens when a child is used for sexual stimulation, arousal and gratification by a caretaker or parent with or without the child’s direct participation in the sexual act.
Mostly the people abusing the children are the ones who benefit either financially or emotionally at the expense of the child’s image and self-respect. Some of the examples of actions that abuse children sexually are; oral penetration of child, child pornography, rape, showing ones’ nakedness to a child, exposing child to sexual materials deliberately, viewing child’s genitalia in any way, touching and kissing children, usage of dirty and sexually inappropriate words in the presence of a child. Sexual abuse is one key form of child abuse in the world now and its effects are debilitating.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF CHILD ABUSE
Children who are abused may not be able to complain or report but certain attitudes or manifestations may suggest child abuse. Some of these are listed below;
1.Truancy (absence from school) due to lack of care and supervision.
2. Poor performances in school.
3. Suicidal attempts.
4. Intentions and attempts to run from home.
5. Detachment from friends and company of peers.
6. Depression and anxiety.
7. Phobia and loss of self-confidence.
8. Bruises burns and scars.
10. Becoming aggressive.
11. Displaying behaviours that are not appropriate for their ages.
MANAGEMENT OF ABUSED CHILDREN
1. Attend quickly to their physical needs and demands.
2. Lend a listening ear and give undivided attention.
3. Take children from abusive environments.
4. Psychological consult and advice.
5. Reassure children of their worth and show them, enormous love.
EFFECTS OF CHILD ABUSE
Maltreatment of children in their younger ages plays a key role in causing permanent damages to them. Some of these effects that occur in children who are abused are;
1. Children become social deviants.
2. Children become violent.
3. Impaired brain development.
4. Development of injuries in early ages of life.
5. Physical health becomes unsteady.
6. Development of psychiatric problems.
Child abuse can occur in several forms such as physical, sexual, emotional and psychological, and negligence of children. Effects on children who are abused are most often permanent and debilitating.
But children who are abused can be saved from these effects when they are taking through appropriate procedures and giving enough care and attention