is a growing issue in the United States, South America, Africa and Asia. It is truly an international problem. In India one study reveals that approximately one-half of all children have been sexually abused. In Brazil (Brasil) 25% of all children are abused, according to one news report. In the U.S. the actual percentage of children is much less, but it remains a strongly entrenched feature of a minority of the population.
Child abuse takes on many forms, including physical, sexual and emotional. Neglect is also a form of child abuse.
Approximately nine-percent of children in the United States live with parents who abuse drugs or alcohol. This contributes to child abuse and neglect. All in all, according to the Childhelp organization, for the prevention and treatment of child abuse, there are approximately three million reports of child abuse in the United States annually, involving approximately six million children. (statistics from Child Welfare Information Gateway
Healing from Child Abuse
For those who have been abused, healing is needed. First there is a need to talk about the abuse with a sympathetic listener. That can be one's mate, a minister, a mentor, or a professional such as a psychologist or other therapist or social worker. Talking about it, even over a long period of time, can help one to get over the anxiety and depression that might result from past abuse. There is more depression and anxiety with persons who have been abused. Talking about the past can be the first step.
Also, for anyone who has undergone traumatic experiences, emotional healing is needed. There is a need to give and receive love. Persons who have been abused can be particularly sensitive to any violence or further trauma, and this can be true of TV programs and movies, or movies that are very emotional in nature.
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Seeing violence in the news can hurt anyone's psyche, but especially those who have been abused. And news reports that give details about abuse of any kind, can trigger memories, and make it difficult to heal.
So for anyone who has been abused, reading can be a gentler way to keep in touch with the world's events, and trying to focus on the positive, rather than negative news reports.
Art can be a healer for anyone who has been abused. Engaging in soft, gentle, soothing therapies such as art, in peaceful surroundings, can allow the mind and emotions to heal.
Anyone who has been abused has to realize, or be helped to realize, that any abuse that they experienced was not in any way their fault. They are not to blame, and one who has been sexually abused may find themselves feeling guilty, when in fact they have been victimized. Children need to be accepted unconditionally and to be have guilt added to them, in an already confusing situation, if they have been abused.
Child Abuse Counseling
Counselors, whether it be mates or others, need to listen, without judging, without necessarily offering solutions, but listen sympathetically and non-judgmentally, reassuringly. This can lead to healing. It can be a painful process for the one recalling the memories of child abuse, but it is a necessary part of recovery. The pain subsides, like an operation, and there is emotional healing.
Child Abuse - Treatment and Misdiagnosis
While counseling can be necessary, and there are many therapies which can be beneficial, misdiagnosis of the emotional wounds of child abuse is commonly confused with psychological disorders, so that children (and adults) who have been victims of child abuse are commonly misdiagnosed, after a precursory examination, with such disorders as ADHD or bipolar disorder. This is more common than we would like to think, both in the work of physicians and in the public school system. Persons and children who have been abused might be reticent about talking about it, so doctors, psychologists and school personnel need to be patient with their clients and discerning. A little girl who has been abused, might not feel so comfortable opening up about it to an authority figure, and it can remain hidden in her memory or his memory.
Persons who have been abused don't need is the same pharmaceutical treatment as those who might be diagnosed with bipolar disorder or ADHD. A child might display some of the same symptoms that are associated with a disorder, but they may have really have been a victim of abuse, and need special care and therapy. Too often, victims of child abuse have been erroneously diagnosed, or even convinced that they have a mental illness, when in fact, they have been abused and need emotional healing, different types of therapy and love. Persons who have been abused need security and stability.
Caputo, Mary, (July 7, 2009). Overdrugged, abused children in Florida
The Miami Herald
Nadereh Salim, CEO of the Children's Network of Southwest Florida, which runs foster care here, doesn't believe caregivers here use drugs simply to control unruly kids. It's reassuring to know, however, that, after the Broward death, there's been targeted training on the issue. About 13 percent of abused, abandoned or neglected children in foster care in Southwest Florida are taking drugs such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers."We do believe that is misuse of medication to calm children down,"
said Salim. "There's so much more you can do with children. We can give them other outlets to work out their energy."
Due to the prevalence of child abuse in its many forms, which includes both physical, emotional, sexual and that experienced through neglect, which is also a form of child abuse, psychiatrists especially need to be cautious when determining and labeling mental health disorders to children and teens, who might need to heal from the wounds of child abuse, rather than be treated pharmaceutically for a mental health disorder.
Reporting Child Abuse
In the United States, reporting of cases of child abuse or suspected child abuse is regulated by law. In some states, anyone who here's of child abuse must report it to the proper authorities, the police or a state child abuse agency. In other states, anyone in a position of authority is under obligation to report child abuse. Teachers, professors and ministers must report suspected child abuse.
In still other states, "ecclesiastical privilege" is granted to ministers who are not required by law to report every case of suspected child abuse. Some ministers, however, might feel obligated to report suspected child abuse whether state law demands it or not. The same might be said of states where mandatory reporting of all cases of suspected child abuse is not required by state law for the general public.
The balance of reported cases of child abuse in states where there are stricter mandatory reporting laws is that, even though suspected child abuse is reported or investigated, it does not mean that the adult is necessarily guilty of child abuse. In some cases, the adult is cleared of any allegations of child abuse, and this includes teachers who have sometimes been accused by children of some form of abuse, but who have been cleared of any wrongdoing.
Therefore, persons who report suspected child abuse, don't need to fear that their reporting of child abuse will ruin the reputation of the accused. If charges are false, then the accused name will usually be cleared through investigation.
Deliberately Exposing Children to Pornography is a Form of Child Abuse
Exposing children to pornography is also considered to be a form of child abuse. The Division of Youth and Family Services, the child abuse agency of New Jersey, states that adults or older siblings who deliberately expose children to pornography should be reported to authorities, and is a form of sexual child abuse. Exposing children to pornography can harm them emotionally and mentally, making them much more vulnerable to sexual molestation.
Additionally, parents, stepparents or older siblings who leave pornography unattended, and that children and other minors view, might be considered to be neglectful in their responsibility to protect children from exposure to pornography.
Responsible parents will provide safeguards on their computer internet, and keep the internet in a visible, rather than private, location in the home. The open-access Internet in a child or teen's bedroom can leave him or her open to exposure to pornography or pornography addiction. All parents and caregivers have the responsibility of securing the Internet in their home if they have children or minors.
In some cases where children have been neglected or abused as a result of neglect, protective intervention as well as mandatory parental training can result in a better situation for the child. However, it must be realized that life-habits are not easy to change, and in some cases, after mandatory parental training, the child restored to the care of the neglectful parent, again experiences abuse due to neglect. Agencies, then, must closely monitor the care that formerly neglectful parents are providing for children, even after parental training, not assuming that the child is now safe. At times, a parent can slip back into comfortable habits which were what contributed to the abuse of their child by others.
There are reports on children abuse on a number of pages on this site, as well as history and organizations and resources on the subject. We sincerely hope that it is helpful.
Child Abuse Statistics and Facts - International Child Abuse
Half of Children Sexually Abused, study says - New York Times Tuesday 4/10/07. More than half of children in India are subjected to sexual abuse, but most do not report the assaults to anyone, a new government study said. Parents and relatives were mostly found to be the perpetrators of child sexual abuse, said Women and child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury.
Separately, nearly 65 percent of school children reported facing punishment beatings by teachers, mostly in government schools, the study said.
The ministry's study covered 13 of India's 28 states and questioned 12,447 children in the 5 to 12 age group and 2,324 young adults. It covered different forms of child abuse, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse, as well as female child neglect. The study did not have a margin of sampling error.
Last year, the government barred the employment of children under age 14 as domestic servants or in hotels, restaurants or small teashops because children were often subjected to physical violence, mental trauma and sexual abuse.
References to Child Abuse and Neglect Information
Child Abuse Prevention Through Education and Abuse Awareness. Child Abuse.com:
Child Abuse Statistics
- Child Abuse in America, (2010). Childhelp
Child abuse statement
and articles links
Parental Substance Abuse
, 2010. Child Welfare Information Gateway.
World Briefing | Asia: India: Half Of Children Sexually Abused, Study Says
, April 10, 2007. New York Times
Pages Related to Child Abuse and Neglect Information
- Main page
Child Abuse Causes
Legal Development andChild Abuse Laws
Child Abuse History
- The story of Mary Ellen, 1873
Child Abuse Organizations
/ References - Child Abuse
How Exposure to Pornography Effects Children