The mistreatment of a child is known as child abuse. Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse are all possible exploitations of a child as well as the failure to properly care for a child. The warning signs of child abuse and neglect are not always obvious. You may have a tremendous impact on a child’s life by learning to spot the indicators of a problem. Physical assault against a child is not the only type of abuse. Any sort of adult maltreatment that is violent or threatening to the child is considered abuse. Domestic violence is when a child is abused in the house by someone who is the child’s parent or caretaker. Children on other hand are occasionally abused by adults who are reliant on them, such as daycare workers, teachers, and sports coaches. Abuse can be deliberate, although it is not always the case. When parents or caregivers are unable to cope with the demands of caring for their children, dysfunctional behavior and abuse can occur.
Child abuse is one of the most damaging social stigmas a culture can have. A child may be physical, sexually, or mentally mistreated. Injury, neglect, blame, forced sexual stimulation and engagement, and incest exploitation are all examples of abuse. Child abuse can occur in a variety of settings, including households, schools, orphanages, residential care facilities, the streets, the workplace, jails, and other correctional facilities. Any sort of violence has a significant impact on a child’s health, survival, development, and dignity.
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is defined by the world health organization (WHO) as the involvement of a child in a sexual activity that they do not fully comprehend, are unable to give informed consent to, or for which they are not developmentally prepared, and therefore cannot give consent or that violates the law of the land. Fondling, urging a child to touch or be touched sexually, using a child in prostitution or pornography, or child luring on the internet are all examples of CSA.
TYPES OF CHILD ABUSE:
Child abuse can take the form of a single occurrence or a series of incidents over time. The Child Protection Act of 1999 places a greater emphasis on the impact of the abuse on the child than on the number of times it has occurred. Whether the child has experienced significant harm, is experiencing significant harm, or is at risk of experiencing a severe injury. The Act also considers whether an injured child has a parent who is capable and willing to safeguard them. Harm is defined as any major negative impact on a child’s physical, psychological, or emotional well-being. More information on the definition of harm can be found in the Act.
When a child is wounded or injured and it is not an accident, it is considered physical abuse. Physical violence may not usually leave marks or injuries that are obvious. The following are examples of physical abuse:
When a child is treated in a way that harms their social, emotional, or intellectual development, this is known as emotional abuse Emotional abuse can be produced by a variety of factors, including:
Name-calling, taunting, bullying, loud criticism, seclusion, or locking a child up for long periods of time are all examples of domestic and familial abuse.
Domestic and familial violence can cause emotional suffering as well as physical harm. A child who witnesses domestic violence is more likely to have their basic needs, such as safety and care, neglected. Domestic and family violence has the potential to have an impact on a child’s emotional development and well-being.
CSA has been generally neglected in public debate, and the criminal justice system has rarely taken it seriously. India is home to over 19 percent of the world’s children. The Indian government vowed to safeguard all children from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse when it signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992. The convention places the burden of proof on the state to protect a child from being coerced or induced into engaging in illegal sexual activity.
While children of all genders are vulnerable to CSA, often the girls who are the most vulnerable to abuse are intimately linked to India’s widespread poverty. In India, the majority of CSA instances are committed by someone who knows the child or is in a position of trust and responsibility. Because of social stigma and family honors, most youngsters do not report abuse to anybody.
In India, sexually abused children are frequently let down by the criminal justice system’s continuous failure to address CSA- reduced issues.
When a child’s basic requirements aren’t satisfied, it can have a negative impact on their health and development. The following are basic requirements:
- Housing and living situations that are clean
- Medical treatment
- Suitable attire
- Personal grooming
- Sufficient oversight
The greatest social stigma is that of child abuse. A child can be abused physically, sexually, or emotionally. Abuse of any kind can have a negative impact on a child’s mental health.
“Psychological abuse of children is just as destructive as sexual or physical abuse.”
Psychological maltreatment is “the most challenging and prevalent form of child abuse and neglect. Given the prevalence of childhood psychological abuse and the severity of harm to young victims, it should be at the forefront of mental health and social service training.
Emotional abuse victims may react by putting distance between themselves and the abuser, internalizing the abuser’s words, or striking back by insulting the abuser. Emotional abuse can cause abnormal or disordered attachment development, as well as a tendency for victims to blame themselves for the abuse (self-blame), acquired helplessness, and overly passive behavior.
When someone presents misleading information regarding a child’s ailment that requires medical attention, the child is put at risk of injury and unneeded medical treatment.
CAUSES OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT:
Children in households where domestic violence is common tend to be victims of abuse. Men who abuse their partners are also responsible for abusing their children at home.
Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Parents with a history of alcohol or substance abuse may be liable for child abuse. Substance abuse addiction is a major cause of child abuse, including physical abuse and deliberate neglect. Parents who abuse alcohol and drugs are more likely to start the abuse when children are under the age of five.
Untreated Mental Illness
Untreated mental illness in parents is a common cause of child abuse. Manic-depressive illness and other mental illnesses can be the main causes of a child’s lack of access to their parents. Mothers can be separated from their children, but in extreme cases, they can also suspect that their children are acting against them. Parental suffering is often the cause of child abuse.
Lack of Parenting Skills
Most mothers and fathers are concerned for their kids, however, few might not be capable of controlling their bodily and emotional desires adequately. Many mothers and fathers might equate disciplining kids with abusing them and could need counseling to function in a higher manner.
Stress and lack of support
Many children are psychologically abused when their parents are under stress. Parents find it difficult to address their child’s emotional needs, especially in stressful situations. Divorce, relationship issues, financial concerns, and occupational issues can lead parents to abuse their children.
EFFECTS OF CHILD ABUSE:
Child abuse has a huge effect on the manner the kid will manipulate relationships at some point of maturity and may dent their self-confidence.
- Development trust issues– it is extremely difficult for youngsters to trust others, particularly when their parents have abused them. Who else can be trusted if not one’s parents? A youngster who has been mistreated may be unable to build or sustain healthy connections.
- Unable to express emotions – children who have been abused are unable to express their sentiments and emotions so they remain bottled up, which can lead to a variety of psychiatric issues. Because they can suffer from anxiety and sadness, abused children often turn to alcohol or drugs as adults to cope with their misery
- Feeling of being worthless– Being continually chastised or even beaten up makes it incredibly difficult to overcome bad feelings. As a result of their emotions of inferiority and worthlessness, abused youngsters settle for a lower education and low-paying professions as adults. Similarly, children who have been sexually assaulted cannot ignore the act’s humiliation and the stigma that comes with it.
HOW CAN CHILD ABUSE BE PREVENTED?
Recognizing the indications of child abuse is one of the most critical steps in preventing it because children tend to suffer in silence. It is vital to encourage them to open up and share their feelings. Children frequently emulate the adults in their lives, and if they witness parents abusing their children, they may believe the behavior is okay. Children who are at risk of being abused should get treatment and counseling.
Disseminate information on child abuse in your neighborhood or city. When individuals are made aware of the terrible reality of abuse and neglect, they will spread the information, which can help to prevent an abusive scenario from occurring.
The greatest social stigma is that of child abuse. A child can be abused physically, sexually, or emotionally. Abuse of any kind can have a negative impact on a child’s mental health. Although progress has been achieved in raising social awareness and educating children about their rights, more has to be done.
BY – SWARNAPRAVA DAS
Masters in Social Work, 1st Division
N.C. Autonomous College, Jajpur