Articles and Information
Articles about child abuse and help and hope
Reported incidents of child sexual abuse are markedly on the rise. What is especially shocking is the fact that these reports represent only a small portion of actual occurrences of sexual abuse. Kids – we have an overview for you here!
For professionals that work with children, such as teachers, doctors, or counselors, strict laws covering the reporting of child abuse. However, for others when and how to report suspected child abuse is often unclear. What is generally understood though, is that if child abuse is suspected, it should be reported.
The sexual abuse of a child is something that occurs across all ethnic and socio-economic boundaries. The abuse often goes undiscovered because the child is afraid to talk about it. There are signs you can look for though. The presence of a single sign does not prove child abuse is occurring in a family; however, when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination you should take a closer look at the situation and consider the possibility of child abuse.
Can you spot a sex offender in a crowd? Most likely, no. But research studies have shown that sexual offenders and pedophiles do exhibit common traits. Taken individually, most of us demonstrate some of these traits ourselves. But taken as a whole, these traits should should be considered warning signs that something may be amiss.
Physical indicators of sexual abuse are not always present and in fact, most examinations of sexually abused prepubertal girls result in normal examination findings due to the elasticity of the hymenal tissue and rapid healing of any injuries that may have occurred during the sexual abuse. Long term problems resulting from sexual abuse are rare but may include gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, non-ulcer dyspepsia, or chronic abdominal pain. Occasionally gynecological disorders may persist such as chronic pelvic pain, dysmenorrheal, or menstrual irregularities.
Child abuse is a preventable problem. The importance of providing a safe environment should be the utmost concern of every adult. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes participation from everyone in a society to stem the tide of child abuse. Prevention of child abuse is something every citizen can take part in.
The Child Protective System (CPS) is broke and when CPS fails, children die. Over 1,000 children die of neglect or torture each year. In the care of CPS, studies have shown that children are 600% more likely to die a horrific death. In 2007, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) reported 1,760 child fatalities attributed to child abuse. Of those, more than half had prior Child Protective Services involvement before their deaths.
Emotional abuse, or psychological maltreatment, is a fairly common form of child abuse but one that is often difficult to identify or categorize. Although complex and difficult to define, experts agree that occasional negative actions or responses to a child are not considered emotional abuse (we all lose our heads at times and say things we regret later). Regardless, even occasional emotional abuse may be harmful to the child. As Douglas Besharov states in Recognizing Child Abuse, “emotional abuse is an assault on the child’s psyche, just as physical abuse is an assault on the child’s body.”
Never in history have sexual predators been given such an opportunity to communicate so freely and directly with children. The Internet and new avenues such as social networking (e.g. Facebook, MySpace), chat rooms, email, instant messaging, and forums provide a dangerous medium for predators to conduct their conquests. A recent study estimates that 1 in 5 children between the ages of 10 and 7 have been sexually solicited online and anyone who watches the news has heard examples of these predators luring children offline and sexually assaulting or even murdering their victims. There are ways to recognize an online predator and things kids can do to avoid them.
The earlier child abuse is discovered, the better the chance the child will recover and lead a normal life. It’s very important that it be caught early on. Fortunately, there are many warning signs that a child is being physically, emotionally, or sexually abused. With a little bit of observation and thoughtful evaluation, you can analyze the child’s situation and spot the warning signs that point towards a child in an abusive situation.