Child abuse is a very complex and dangerous set of problems that include child neglect and the physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse of children.

Although most people think first of physical abuse when they hear the term, physical abuse makes up 25 percent of reported cases. It is defined as physical injury inflicted upon the child with cruel and/or malicious intent. Fatal injuries from maltreatment can result from physical abuse. Many physically abused children suffer multiple injuries over the years, which may go untreated to cover up for the abuse.


Child neglect is the most frequently reported form of child abuse and the most lethal. This form of abuse is defined as the failure to provide for the shelter, safety, supervision and nutritional needs of the child. Child neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional neglect.

Physical neglect includes refusal of or delay in seeking health care, abandonment, expulsion from the home or refusal to allow a runaway to return home, and inadequate supervision.

Educational neglect includes the allowance of chronic truancy, failure to enroll a child of mandatory school age in school, and failure to attend to a special educational need.

Emotional neglect includes such actions as marked inattention to the child’s needs for affection, refusal of or failure to provide needed psychological care, spouse abuse in the child’s presence, and permission of drug or alcohol use by the child.

Physical abuse is the second most frequently reported form of child abuse. Physical abuse can be the result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking, or otherwise harming a child. The parent or caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child, rather the injury may have resulted from over-discipline or physical punishment.

Emotional abuse is the third most frequently reported form of child abuse and includes acts or omissions by the parents or other caregivers that could cause serious behavioral, emotional, or mental disorders. For example, the parents/caregivers may us extreme or bizarre forms of punishment, such as confinement of a child in a dark closet. Emotional child abuse is also sometimes termed psychological child abuse, verbal child abuse, or mental injury of a child.

Sexual abuse is the least frequently reported form of child abuse and is believed to be the most under-reported type of child maltreatment because of the secrecy or “conspiracy of silence” that so often characterizes these cases. Sexual abuse includes fondling a child’s genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.

Steps which are often taken to correct child abuse are as follows:

  • The safety of the abused child and any other potential victim of abuse in the household is paramount. Removal of the victim is often necessary.
  • Effective counseling for the child, family, and the abuser is essential to deal with the associated emotional and psychological stress and trauma.
  • In the event of neglect, establishing realistic expectations of the childrens needs and capabilities is required.
  • Parental high-risk behaviors such a substance/alcohol abuse must be addressed.
  • Pedophiles (people who have sexually abused children) often require intense psychological and pharmacological therapy.

The information provided in this web site or via links, is for informational purposes only. It does not take the place of, nor is it intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a professional.

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