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What is Child Abuse?

  6/23/2012
Summary:Child abuse, or child maltreatment, is an act by a parent or caretaker that results in or allows the child to be subjected to death, physical injury, sexual assault, or emotional harm. Emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse are all different forms of child abuse.

What are Child Sexual Abuse and Incest?

Child sexual abuse is any sexual act performed with a child by an adult or older child, with or without force or the threat of force. Child sexual abuse is most commonly committed by someone known to the child, including family members. In this case, the act may be considered incest. Incest is overt and/or covert sexual contact or acts between people who are related genetically, by marriage, by living arrangements, or in whom a child perceives a trusting relationship, for example parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, step-parents, foster parents. Incest is one of the most common forms of child sexual abuse. It may start as seemingly innocent touching and progress to more serious acts. It can continue for years. Other individuals who may commit child sexual abuse include neighbors, family friends, baby sitters, religious leaders, youth group leaders, or others with a power advantage of any kind over the child. Child sexual abuse may also be committed by a stranger. The acts can include: touching or non-touching, verbal seduction or abuse, anal or vaginal intercourse, oral sex, sodomy, manual stimulation, direct threats, implied threats, or other forms of abuse.

What is the Impact on Children Witnessing Domestic Violence?

The emotional toll on children who witness threats or violence against others can be substantial, especially when those involved are familiar to the child and the violence takes place in the home. Children may be affected when they witness domestic violence, regardless of whether or not they are directly abused.

Current research has found that children exposed to domestic violence are at an increased risk for emotional and behavioral problems, including anxiety, depression, and academic problems. The research also suggests that some children who have witnessed domestic violence show no symptoms of psychological distress.

Children's responses may depend on the severity and frequency of the abuse, the availability of family and community support, and the child's resilience. Once their safety is assured, most children can overcome the effects of trauma through professional counseling or other supportive interventions. 






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