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What is Child Abuse?

Although there are many formal and acceptable definitions of child abuse, the following is offered as a guide.

Child abuse consists of any act of commission or omission that endangers or impairs a child's physical or emotional health and development. Child abuse includes any damage done to a child that cannot be reasonably explained and is often represented by an injury, or series of injuries, appearing to be non-accidental in nature. To see more, please see Protect Your Child.

Major forms of child abuse:

Physical - Any non-accidental injury to a child. This includes hitting, kicking, slapping, shaking, burning, pinching, hair pulling, biting, choking, throwing, shoving, whipping and paddling.

Sexual - Any sexual act between an adult and child. This includes fondling, penetration, intercourse, exploitation, pornography, exhibitionism, child prostitution, group sex, oral sex or forced observation of sexual acts.

Neglect - Failure to provide for a child's physical needs. This includes lack of supervision, inappropriate housing or shelter, inadequate provision of food, inappropriate clothing for season or weather, abandonment, denial of medical care, and inadequate hygiene.

Emotional - Any attitude or behavior that interferes with a child's mental health or social development. This includes yelling, screaming, name-calling, shaming, negative comparisons to others, telling a child that he/she is "bad, no good, worthless" or "a mistake." It also includes the failure to provide the affection and support necessary for the development of a child's emotional, social, physical and intellectual well-being. This includes ignoring, lack of appropriate physical affection (hugs), not saying "I love you," withdrawal of attention, lack of praise and lack of positive reinforcement.

 


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