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Understanding Child Abuse & Neglect The Effects of Abuse The long-term affects of child abuse or neglect can be devastating. They can include substance.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding Child Abuse & Neglect The Effects of Abuse The long-term affects of child abuse or neglect can be devastating. They can include substance."— Presentation transcript:


2 Understanding Child Abuse & Neglect

3 The Effects of Abuse The long-term affects of child abuse or neglect can be devastating. They can include substance abuse, psychological problems, and suicide. Reporting suspected abuse or neglect can help to stop the destructive process and start the healing process. Any mandatory reporter who suspects that a child is suffering from any type of abuse or neglect, is legally required to report that suspicion to appropriate authorities.

4 Note of Caution Research shows that there are a number of symptoms exhibited by children that may indicate abuse or neglect. *The presence of a single indicator does not automatically mean that abuse or neglect has occurred. However, it does warrant your attention.

5 What is Child Abuse? Is rarely a single physical attack, but rather a pattern of abuse that repeats over time. Occurs when a parent or other person willfully or maliciously injures or causes a child to be injured, tortured or maimed, or when unreasonable force is used upon a child. Abuse and neglect can be physical, emotional and sexual.

6 Characteristics of Child Abuse and Neglect Abused and neglected children are found in families at all...  Economic levels  Racial and ethnic backgrounds  Geographic locations. People are more likely to behave in ways that can hurt children or lead to child abuse and neglect when they neglect to take good care of themselves.

7 Risk factors leading to abuse: The stress of poverty or unemployment A lack of social support to help parents do a good job of parenting Conflict and/or violence between spouses A child (or children) who has special needs, is hard to comfort of challenging to rear Abuse alcohol or other substances Are highly vulnerable to the stress of caring for children Have low self-esteem and feel isolated Use more physical punishment than positive guidance

8 Physical abuse Definition: is any non-accidental injury to a child under the age of 18 by a parent or caretaker. Non-accidental injuries: beatings, shaking, burns, human bites, strangulation or immersion in scalding water, with resulting bruises and welts, broken bones, scars or internal injuries Physical Indicators: Unexplained fractures/dislocations Unexplained bruises and welts Unexplained burns Other unexplained injuries may include lacerations, abrasions, human bite marks or pinch marks, loss of hair or bald patches, retinal hemorrhage, or abdominal injuries

9 Physical Abuse Behavioral Indicators: Requests or feels deserving of punishment Afraid to go home and/or requests to stay in school, day care, etc. Overly shy, tends to avoid physical contacts with adults, especially parents. Displays behavioral extremes (withdrawal or aggressiveness). Suggests that other children should be punished in a harsh manner Cries excessively and/or sits and stares. Reports injury by parents Gives unbelievable explanations for injuries.

10 What is Emotional Abuse? Two Levels Emotional Neglect Emotional neglect is the consistent failure of a parent or caretaker to provide a child with appropriate support, attention and affection. Emotional Abuse Emotional abuse is the chronic pattern of behaviors, such as belittling, humiliating and ridiculing a child.

11 Emotional Abuse Physical & Behavioral Indicators: Eating disorder Sleep disturbances, nightmares Speech disorders, stuttering Failure to thrive Developmental lags Asthma, severe allergies or ulcers Habit disorders, such as biting, rocking, head-banging, thumb- sucking in an older child Poor peer relationships Behavioral extremes, overly compliant or demanding, withdrawn or aggressive Self-destructive behavior, remaining oblivious to hazards and risks Chronic academic underachievement

12 What is Child Neglect? Neglect is the chronic failure of a parent or caretaker to provide a child under 18 with adequate food, clothing, medical care, protection and supervision.

13 Child Neglect Physical & Behavioral Indicators: Height and weight significantly below age levels Inappropriate clothing for weather Child abandoned or left with inadequate supervision Untreated illness or injury Lack of safe, sanitary shelter Lack of necessary medical and dental care Begging or stealing food Falling asleep in school, lethargic Poor school attendance, frequent tardiness Chronic hunger Dull, apathetic appearance Running away from home Repeated acts of vandalism Reports no caretakers in the home Assumes adult responsibilities

14 What is Child Sexual Abuse? Child sexual abuse is the exploitation of a child or adolescent for the sexual gratification of another person. It includes behaviors such as intercourse, sodomy, oral- genital stimulation, verbal stimulation, exhibitionism, voyeurism, fondling, and involving a child in prostitution or the production or pornography. Incest is sexual abuse that occurs within a family. The abuses may be a parent, step-parent, grandparent, sibling, cousin or other family member.

15 Child Sexual Abuse Physical Indicators: Somatic complaints, including pain and irritation of the genitals Sexually transmitted disease Pregnancy in young adolescents Frequent unexplained sore throats, yeast, or urinary tract infections Behavioral Indicators Excessive masturbation in young children Sexual knowledge or behavior beyond that expected for the child’s developmental level Depression, suicidal gestures Chronic running away Frequent psychosomatic complaints, such as headaches, backaches, or stomachaches Drug or alcohol abuse Avoidance of undressing or wearing extra layers of clothes Sudden avoidance of certain familiar adults or places Decline in school performance

16 The Characteristics of Child Sexual Abuses More non-biological care takers ( like step or adoptive parents, baby-sitters, boyfriends or girlfriends) sexually abuse than do birth parents or relatives More males than females sexually abuse Children are sexually abused more often by people they know than by strangers

17 Responding To A Disclosure: It is important to respond in a calm, supportive and appropriate manner. Build trust and insure confidentiality Children will find it difficult to tell someone about abuse or neglect that is occurring to them. Many times children will wait a long time before disclosing. If the person reacts with disgust or doesn’t believe them, they will stop disclosing the events.

18 How to Respond Be on the same eye level as the child; be tactful and have no barriers between you and the child Assess the child’s safety needs and the urgency of the situation Find out what the child wants from you Validate the child’s feelings Believe the child and be supportive Assure the child that you care, you are still their friend and they are not to blame

19 How to Respond Let the child know what you will do Be calm, don’t react with disgust, etc. Tell the child you are glad that they told you Tell the child you will try to get them some help Tell the child you will have to tell someone whose job it is to help kids with these kinds of problems Don’t interrogate or interview the child Do not project or assume anything; let the child tell his own story; leave out your own assumptions

20 How to Report Follow this process to avoid further abuse to the child and to legally protect yourself: Document any incident or discussion that leads you to suspect the abuse. 2)Utilize form “Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect Report” and be sure to include the date, time, and description of the incident. 3)File the confidential report with your county office, where it will be placed in a locked file.

21 Do not investigate; it may jeopardize the child’s safety as well as any legal action pending as a result of the abuse (Nelson and Clark, 1986). Try to keep emotion out of it and give factual information about what you have observed or heard Remember your goal is to help the child to be safe as well as be safe yourself. Think clearly and objectively about making a report More on How To Report It is essential that concerns about child abuse or neglect be treated with strict confidentiality. You may need to discuss your concerns with another person however, this can and should be done without using the family or individual names. Also, hold the conversation where other will not be able to hear your discussion.

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