Child Abuse: An Ugly Truth

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.

Why do people abuse children?

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.

  • High level of stress associated with modern lifestyle has been one of the major contributing factors.  Modern lifestyle imposes new demands on child parenting, which many parents find difficult to meet. Dissatisfaction and inadequacy plagues the parents psyche, who in moments of their weakness abuse their own children.

  • Domestic violence has been listed as a major factor contributing to abuse and neglect of children.

  • Alcoholics and those who indulge in substance abuse are much more likely to abuse and neglect their children. On the other hand, studies show that two-thirds of the people receiving treatment for drug abuse are themselves reported to be the victims of abuse and/or neglect as children.

  • Victims of child abuse are people who easily give into abusive activities. According to available statistics, one-third of the adults who abuse children have themselves been its victim in childhood, and so the cycle of disturbed psychology continues.

Types of child abuse

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.

Forms of Child Abuse


The commonest form of maltreatment is intentional negligence towards children’s day to day needs. Disregarding their emotional and physical needs stunt the entire childhood development and growth.

Needs for Optimal Child Growth and Development

Physical Needs of Child Growth
Psychological Needs for Optimal Child Growth

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.  

Domestic violence

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 of children

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.

Protect children from sexual abuse

To protect against sexual abuse, parents need to teach their children right from infancy:

  • About the body parts.

  • No other person, however trusted, should be allowed to touch them on certain parts of their body.

  • How far a touch is in good taste (like a pat on the back, short hug, hand shake) and what is a bad touch.

Other ways of abusing children

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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Long term effects on victims of child abuse

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:

Preventive efforts by the community

Community efforts to prevent abusive activities towards children include:

  • Create awareness among the people that abusing children is not a private family matter, but a report able child health issue.

  • Create awareness among health and child welfare agencies about the prevalence of domestic violence and its effect on children.

  • Create multidisciplinary intervention and prevention services in individual localities.

  • Provide access to self-help groups and other supportive services for all perpetrators, victims, and survivors of abuse. Here is one group that offers Free worldwide support services and encouragement in the trauma for survivors of abuse families in violence, child abuse victims, domestic violence disturbed and more. (Opens new window)

  • Educate all who work with children and families, including teachers, service providers, and health care professionals about the interplay between domestic violence and child abuse.

Help lines to report child abuse cases

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

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

Click Here to Post your Questions: It's Free

Related pages of interest

Child of Rage

Teens Dating Violence

Types of Child Sexual Abuse

Brain Changes in Abused Children

Child Sexual Abuse: Recognizing the Problem

Child Sexual Abuse: Psychological Disturbances in The Abused

Childhood Abusive Experiences Could Lead to  Food Addiction

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Child Abuse: An Ugly Truth

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Teens Dating Violence

Recognize Child Sexual Abuse

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