Child abuse is rampant in our society, but often goes unnoticed till it gets too late. Records show that every day 5 children die due to the causes attributable to maltreatment and 4 of them fall below 4 years of age.
Children of all ages (0 to 18 years) are being harmed by the very people who are expected to protect them. Maltreatment and exploitation of children is a growing international pandemic, prevalent among all socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.
Maltreatment during childhood occurs at home, in school, in neighborhood, by the society or even by the nations. The incidence of child abuse has doubled over a decade.
Child abuse is the outward projection of the cruel side of human nature. It projects the inadequacy of the abuser to meet the physical and psychological needs of the growing children.
Children are maltreated and neglected on daily basis in variety of ways. Medical care deprivation is found only in a small percentage of abused children.
One third of toddlers suffering from failure to thrive are victims of deprivation. Moreover, parental neglect leaves children bewildered. The betrayal of trust results in serious emotional and psychosocial maladjustment throughout their lives.
Inflicting physical trauma is the next most common form of maltreatment children suffer in name of disciplining. Parents have massive authority over their children and disciplining them is a crucial part of parenting. But inflicting physical and/or psychological trauma on children is a crime.
Children are the innocent victims of domestic violence. The assaults and coercive attacks between the grownups leave children in the family traumatized in many different ways.
Domestic violence should not be perceived as a private family matter. Statistics show that every minute 6 new cases of child abuse are registered. The families involved in domestic violence and the families involved in maltreating children have lots in common.
Abusive behavior towards children is never an isolated event.
The events classically occur regularly and as the time passes, usually trend towards increase in frequency and intensity.
To stop maltreatment and exploitation of children we need to be vigilant and report incidences of abuse to prevalent help lines in the concerned state/country.
Sexual abuse is the most devastating variant of maltreatment of children. Studies show that almost 90 percent of the times girls fall prey to sexual exploitation. However, it is worth drawing my readers’ attention here that boys are equally at risk of sexual abuse, and internet is the newest medium through which perpetrators reach children.
The blame and disgrace inflicted by the cultural norms of the society along with the powerful position of the perpetrator, imposes the necessity on the victim to secrecy and/or denial of being a victim of sexual exploitation.
The harm inflicted is further compounded by trauma, humiliation, severe physical injuries, feeling of insecurity and emotional bruises.
Parents do teach their children to be at guard with strangers, but almost always, the perpetrator is a known and trusted adult.This breaks the affected children’s confidence in people and mars their social relationships right in to adulthood.
To protect against sexual abuse, parents need to teach their children right from infancy:
Other forms of abusing children are child labor, child marriages, sex selection, abandonment, infanticide, consumerism in children through media and many more.
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The victims of maltreatment during childhood grow up angry youngsters. They defy authority, and do not trust anyone or any form of system. Their bruised trust and deep seated hatred, makes them pawns in hands of criminals.
Victims of child abuse suffer from at least one psychological disorder.
The incidence being as high as 80 percent of the affected.
They have much higher predisposition to mental health problems:
Community efforts to prevent abusive activities towards children include:
Child help USA, Tel: (480) 922-8212
Child help Canada, National child abuse hotline: 1-800-422-4453
India, child line: 1098 Speak to Didi or Bhaiya
UK, Child Line: 0800 1111 ... Report a concern.
Or visit online http://www.nspcc.org.uk/
Australia, Report line Phone: 131 478
National relay services - Phone: 133 677
Speak and listen (SSR) Phone: 1300 555 727
Child Abuse Prevention Association, Tel: (816) 252-8388
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