What is Child Abuse?

The four major types of child abuse are:
 Physical Abuse
 Sexual Abuse
 Emotional Abuse
 Neglect

Physical Abuse is an injury resulting from physical aggression. The
consequences of this form of abuse can be bodily injuries or even
death. Every year scores of children are being physically abused by
persons who are close to them; and while the physical punishment
may be extremely severe, the emotional scars are even worse.
Physical punishment for the purpose of correction can easily get out
of control and become physical abuse.

Sexual Abuse of a child is any sexual act between an adult and a
child including penetration, intercourse, incest, rape, oral sex and
sodomy. Other examples include fondling, violations of bodily
privacy, exposing children to adult sexuality (pornography) or
commercial exploitation (prostitution). It is the responsibility of the
adult not to engage in sexual acts with children.

© So-o Local 2007-2017
Emotional Abuse is any attitude or behavior that interferes with a
child’s mental health or social development. Examples of emotional
abuse include:
1) Intimidation
2) Belittling
3) Lack of affection and warmth
4) Habitual blaming
5) Ignoring or rejecting
6) Extreme punishment
7) Exposure to violence
8) Child exploitation
9) Child abduction
Emotional Abuse is almost always present when another form of
abuse is found, however emotional abuse can have long-lasting
negative psychiatric effects than physical or sexual abuse.

Neglect is a very common type of abuse, yet victims are not often
identified, primarily because neglect is a type of child abuse that is
an act of omission. Neglect is a pattern of failing to provide for a
child’s basic needs.
Neglect may be:
1) Physical – failure to provide food, clothing, supervision and a
safe home.
2) Educational – failure to enroll a child in school or provide
necessary special education. This also includes excessive
absences from school.
3) Emotional – failure to provide emotional support, love and
Child abuse can have dire consequences, during both childhood
and adulthood. The effects of being abused as a child vary
according to the severity of the abuse and the surrounding
environment of the child. In a nurturing and supportive
environment, the child will probably have a healthier outcome.

© So-o Local 2007-2017
Signs and Symptoms of Child Abuse
Physical Abuse-

 Unexplained burns, cuts, bruises or welts
 Bite Marks
 Anti-social behavior
 Problems in school
 Fear of adults

Emotional Abuse-

 Apathy
 Depression
 Hostility or stress
 Lack of concentration
 Eating Disorders

Sexual Abuse-

 Inappropriate knowledge of sexual acts
 Nightmares or bedwetting
 Drastic changes in appetite
 Over compliance or excessive aggression
 Fear of a particular person or family member


 Dirty or unbathed
 Extreme hunger
 Lack of apparent supervision

© So-o Local 2007-2017
Consequences of Child Abuse
Child Abuse has devastating consequences for victims. Depending
on its form(s), duration and severity, abuse may affect every aspect
of a child’s life. It may have consequences that are psychological,
physical, behavioral, academic, sexual, interpersonal, self-
perceptual or spiritual. The effects of abuse may occur right away,
or surface only in adolescence or adulthood. In some cases the
consequences are fatal.

Psychological / Emotional Effects:
The immediate psychological effects of abuse and neglect are
isolation, fear and a lack of trust. These can spiral into long-term
mental health consequences including,
 Low Self-Esteem
 Depression and Anxiety
 Eating Disorders
 Relationship Difficulties
 Alienation and Withdrawal
 Personality Disorders

Physical Effects:
The immediate physical effects of abuse can range from,
 Injury
 Death
 Lifelong Health problems
 Cognitive Difficulties

© So-o Local 2007-2017
Behavioral Effects:
Abused or neglected children are more likely to experience problems
in adolescence including,

 Problems in school and work
 Delinquency
 Teen Pregnancy
 Suicide Attempts

As adults, children who experience abuse or neglect have an
increased likelihood of criminal behavior, involvement in crime,
abuse of alcohol and other drugs and abusive behavior. While child
abuse and neglect almost always occur within the family, the
impact does not end there, society as a whole pays a price.

© So-o Local 2007-2017
Response to Abuse
 Remain calm. A child may retract information or stop talking if
they sense a strong reaction.
 Believe the child. Children rarely make up stories about abuse
 Listen without passing judgment. Most children know their
abusers and often have confused feelings
 Tell the child that you are glad that they told someone.
 Assure the child that the abuse is not their fault.
 Do what you can to make certain that the child is safe from
further abuse.
 Do not investigate the abuse yourself.
 Call for crises intervention and referral services.

© So-o Local 2007-2017
Protecting your child
 Participate in your child’s activities and get to know your
child’s friends.
 Teach your children the difference between “good touches”,
“bad touches” and “confusing touches”.
 Be aware of changes in your child’s behavior or attitude and
 Listen when your child tells you that they don’t want to be
with someone.
 Be alert for any talk that reveals premature sexual knowledge
or understanding.
 Pay attention when someone shows greater than normal
interest in your child.
 Make certain that your child’s school or daycare centre will
release your child to only you or someone you officially
 Teach your child the correct names of his/her body parts.
 Never discipline your child when angry.

© So-o Local 2007-2017