Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect

Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect

Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect

Understanding child abuse and neglect is the first step to ending the pain of millions of kids suffering in our country. Specifically, this means knowing the different types of child abuse. This infographic illustrates just some of the types and effects that child abuse and neglect have on our society.

Child abuse, or child maltreatment, can be divided into three main categories: sexual, physical, and psychological.

What is Sexual abuse?
Sexual abuse involves pressuring or forcing a child to engage in sexual acts. It includes behaviors such as fondling, penetration, and exposing a child to other sexual activities.

What is Physical abuse?
Physical abuse is intentionally using physical force against a child, such as beating, kicking, hitting, stabbing, choking, burning, or punching, that can result in physical injury.

What is Psychological abuse?
Psychological abuse, also known as emotional abuse, refers to behaviors that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being. This can include name calling, shaming, rejection, withholding love, and threatening.

No one, least of all a child, should have to suffer any kind of abuse. Unfortunately, there are 4.4 million referrals of child abuse in a given year. More shockingly, these reports involved 7.9 million children.

Child abuse is not only surprisingly common, but also deadly. Five children die a day from child abuse. That’s 150 children who die every month, and over 1,800 who die every year. 

Tragically, almost three-fourths of child fatalities related to child abuse were children under the age of 3.

Even if a child survives the pain and suffering, the abuse they experienced can have a terrible lasting impact for the rest of their lives.

For example, children who were abused experience higher rates of teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, limited employment opportunities, and criminal activity. 

Children who experienced chronic abuse may experience toxic stress, which can change brain development and increase the risk for problems like post-traumatic stress disorder and learning, attention, and memory difficulties.

Other young people who suffered from child abuse also turn to self-medication as a means of coping. As many as two-thirds of people in treatment for drug abuse reported being abused or neglected as children.

Even worse, about 30 percent of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrific cycle of abuse.

As terrible as these facts are, there is still cause for hope. By spreading awareness about this issue, you can prevent child abuse. If you suspect a child is experiencing some form of maltreatment, call Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4ACHILD.

Continue reading for more detailed information on how to recognize and report child abuse.

Discover More