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Child Abuse Awareness: Types, Prevalence, Indicators and Impact
Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes

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~ Child Abuse Awareness: Types, Prevalence, Indicators and Impact

~ Physical abuse is the intentional use of physical force that can result in physical injury. Examples include hitting, kicking, shaking, burning, or other shows of force against a child.
~ Sexual abuse involves pressuring or forcing a child to engage in sexual acts. It includes behaviors such as fondling, penetration, and exposing a child to other sexual activities.
~ Emotional abuse refers to behaviors that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being. Examples include name-calling, shaming, rejection, withholding love, and threatening.
~ Neglect is the failure to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs. These needs include housing, food, clothing, education, and access to medical care.

~ Parents
~ Relatives
~ Babysitter
~ Household staff
~ Clergy
~ School personnel
~ Medical personnel
~ Nonrelated adult with no direct caregiving role (neighbor, stranger, someone the child met online)
~ Nonrelated child (bullying at school, kid next door, dating violence)
~ Foster sibling

~ At least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year
~ FFY 2019, a national estimate of 1,840 children died from abuse and neglect at a rate of 2.50 per 100,000 children in the population which is an increase from the FFY 2018 national estimate of 1,780 children.
~ The mortality rate of children who are severely neglected is higher than the rate of severely physically abused children
~ more than one quarter (28.1%) of victims are in the age range of birth through 2 years old
~ The percentages of child victims are similar for both boys (48.3%) and girls (51.4%)
~ Most victims are one of three races or ethnicities—White (43.5%), Hispanic (23.5%), or African-American (20.9%)

~ The Caregiver:
~ Shows little concern for the child
~ Offers conflicting, unconvincing, or no explanation for the child’s injury or status
~ Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child and/or family’s problems
~ Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline
~ Sees the child as entirely evil, worthless, or burdensome
~ Unrealistic performance demands
~ Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs
~ Is unduly protective of the child or severely limits the child’s contact with other children
~ Is secretive and isolated
~ Is jealous or controlling with family members

~ The Child:
~ Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
~ Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the caregivers’ attention
~ Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
~ Hypervigilant
~ Lacks adult supervision
~ Shows extremes in behavior, such as overly compliant or demanding behavior, extreme passivity, or aggression
~ Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
~ Demonstrates poor hygiene (inappropriate for age)
~ Is either inappropriately adult or inappropriately infantile

Indicators—Child cont…
~ Has unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones esp. in varying stages of healing
~ Frequent school / work absences
~ Begs or steals food/money
~ Runs away
~ Seems frightened of the parents and protests or cries when it is time to go home
~ Shrinks at the approach of adults
~ Reports injury by a parent or another adult caregiver
~ Suddenly refuses to change for gym or to participate in physical activities*
~ Has difficulty walking or sitting*
~ Reports nightmares or bedwetting*

~ Individual
~ Physical
~ TBI (mechanical and chemical)
~ Development of stress-related physical ailments including autoimmune issues, cardiovascular issues
~ Impaired sleep
~ STDs, chronic pain from physical and sexual abuse
~ Suicide attempts
~ Substance abuse
~ Eating disorders

~ Individual
~ Affective & Cognitive
~ Mood disorders
~ Impaired impulse control and executive functioning
~ Learning difficulties from lack of sleep, TBI, mood impairment
~ Environmental
~ Run-away / homelessness
~ Relational
~ Lack of attachment
~ Low self-esteem

~ Community
~ Incarceration
~ Medical treatment for acute injury
~ Medical treatment for chronic MH/physical illness
~ Delayed brain development resulting in lower educational attainment and limited employment opportunities and lower SES
~ Future violence victimization and perpetration

Risk Factors in the Caregiver
~ MH/SAB disorder
~ Inadequate housing
~ Low SES
~ Domestic violence
~ Caregiver disability
~ Domestic violence
~ History of being abused or abusing others

Risk Factors in the Child
~ Age (under 4)
~ Disability (physical, cognitive, emotional)

Community Risk Factors
~ High rates of violence, crime, substance use
~ High rates of poverty and limited educational and economic opportunities
~ Low community attachment and involvement
~ Few community activities for young people
~ Unstable housing or where residents move frequently
~ Few respite resources for parents

~ There are a variety of indicators of child abuse and neglect
~ Many of the causes of child abuse and neglect reflect emotional and behavioral dyscontrol as a result of high levels of stress
~ Child abuse and neglect has short and long term consequences for both the individual and community.
~ In the next presentation we will explore prevention strategies in-depth