The following message has been brought to you by the Director of the Europeian Cosmopolitan Party,
and was made possible in part by resources provided by the Children's Advocacy Center of Johnson County, and the Child Welfare Information Gateway.
The linked audio file is best listened to on an Android mobile device.
What is Child Abuse?
Before they turn 18, one in four girls and one in six boys in the United States will be sexually abused, and one in three boys and one in four girls will be physically abused. Any child can become a victim of abuse. No race, ethnicity or socioeconomic demographic is immune.
Child abuse is defined as doing or failing to do something that results in harm or risk of harm to a child. There are four types of abuse: physical, sexual, emotional and neglect. While child physical abuse may be the most discernible, other types of abuse leave extensive and lasting emotional scars. Early intervention is key to helping an abused child heal.
Physical abuse is defined as physical injury that results in substantial harm to a child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child. This could include an injury that differs from the explanation given, excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent or guardian that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm. Physical abuse also includes the failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another person that results in substantial harm to the child.
Signs of Physical Abuse
Unexplained changes in the child's body or behavior or reverting to earlier developmental stages
Any injury (e.g. a bruise, burn, fracture, abdominal or head injury) that cannot be explained
Watchful and "on alert" behavior, as if the child is waiting for something bad to happen
Shying away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home
Appears to be afraid of adults
Wears clothing inappropriate to the season or weather to cover injuries, i.e. long-sleeved shirts on hot days
Frequent headaches or stomach aches with no medical cause
Sexual abuse is sexual conduct harmful to a child's mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of indecency with a child or sexual assault; failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct harmful to a child; compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct; and causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming or depicting of the child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of the child is obscene or pornographic.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
Extreme sexual behavior that seems inappropriate for the child's age
Sexual acting out on other children
Genital pain, itching, swelling or bleeding, as well as a sexually transmitted disease
Refusal to change clothes for physical activities (e.g. sports) or refusal to participate in physical activities
Fear of being alone with adults, especially of a particular gender
Trouble walking or sitting
Nightmares or bedwetting
Sudden changes in appetite
Fear of a particular person or family member
Neglect means leaving a child in a situation where the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm, and failing to arrange the necessary care for the child. It includes the demonstration of intent not to return by a parent or guardian of the child.
Signs of Neglect
Frequently absent from school
Theft of food or money
Consistently poor hygiene
Lack of appropriate clothing for weather or season
Frequently unsupervised, left alone or allowed to play in unsafe situations and environments
Lacks needed medical or dental care
Emotional abuse means inflicting mental or emotional injury to a child, and/or causing or permitting the child to be in a situation in which the child sustains a mental or emotional injury that correlates in an observable and material impairment of the child's growth, development or psychological functioning.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Changes of behavior
Lack of attachment to the parent
Excessively withdrawn, fearful or anxious about doing something wrong
Acts either inappropriately adult (e.g. taking care of other children) or inappropriately infantile (e.g. rocking, thumb-sucking, tantrums)
Extremely passive or aggressive behavior
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, or if you are a child who is being maltreated, contact your local child protective services office or law enforcement agency so professionals can assess the situation. Many States have a toll-free number to call to report suspected child abuse or neglect. To find out where to call, consult the Information Gateway publication, State Child Abuse Reporting Numbers.
Anyone can report suspected child abuse or neglect. Reporting abuse or neglect can protect a child and get help for a family; it may even save a child's life. In some States, any person who suspects child abuse or neglect is required to report. To see how your State addresses this issue, read the Information Gateway publication, Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.
Child Welfare Information Gateway® is not a hotline for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect, and it is not equipped to accept reports of this nature. Information Gateway is not equipped to offer crisis counseling. As a service of the Children's Bureau in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Information Gateway does not have the authority to intervene or advise in personal situations.
Childhelp® is a national organization that provides crisis assistance and other counseling and referral services. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with professional crisis counselors who have access to a database of 55,000 emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are anonymous. Contact them at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).
On behalf of the Europeian Cosmopolitan Party, thank you for reading and/or listening to this important message.