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For Centuries, the recognition of child abuse has been compromised by pervasive denial. There are sociological phenomena through which entire communities across the world deny the reality of child abuse because denial protects individuals or victim from the young consequenced horrible aspect of future life. Child abuse affects all people of all ages from infants, children to adolescents irrespective of gender, socio-economic classes, ethnic groups and religion.

Identification, evaluation, protection and treatment of abused child is very challenging in India and as well as in other Countries. Mental Health workers, law personals, Politicians, Social Worker, NGOs, Police, Other Doctors, Human right professionals, should join their hand for making effective legislation, post victim care, reduce stigma, prevention & act. There are vital role of Psychiatrists and Mental Health Professionals, they may provide treatment of children who have behavioural and emotional problem caused by abuse. They may also evaluate for a forensic or legal purpose, support them and their family to recover from this crisis.


Child Abuse

Any intentional harm or mistreatment to a child under 18 years old is considered child abuse. It occurs in all age group including infants, children and adolescents. Child abuse takes many forms, which often occur at the same time. Mental health professionals help to understand the nature , extent and cause of the psychological trauma.


Physical abuse.

Can be understood as any act that results in a non-accidental physical injury such as beating, punching, kicking, biting, burning and poisoning. It may also be result of unreasonable severe bodily punishment or unjustifiable punishment.

How to recognise

It can be recognized by presence of Unexplained injuries, such as bruises, fractures or burns on the body. Damage to head, Internal organs and skeletal damage. Body Injuries that don't match the given explanation by victims.


Sexual Abuse

Can be understood by any sexual activity with a child, such as fondling, oral-genital contact, intercourse or exposure to child pornography. It can be between same gender or opposite gender. The sexual behavior include touching breasts, buttocks, genitals whether the victim is dressed or undressed; exhibitionism, fellation, cunnilingus and penetration of vagina or anus with sexual organ or objects.

How to recognize / Identification

It can b recognized by presence of

  • Sexual behavior or knowledge that's inappropriate for the child's age.
  • Pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection.
  • Blood in the child's underwear.
  • Statements that he or she was sexually abused and inappropriate touch.
  • Avoiding meeting a particular person (could be a relative).
  • Trouble walking or sitting or complaints of genital pain.


Emotional abuse/ Psychological abuse

Is when a person conveys to a child that he or she is worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted or endangered. It may result from verbal assault (threating, blaming, screaming), exposure to domestic violence, over pressuring, or forcing the child to engaging antisocial activities.

How to recognize Emotional abuse

  • Delayed or inappropriate emotional development
  • Loss of self-confidence or self-esteem
  • Social withdrawal or a loss of interest
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Headaches, generalized body pain or stomachaches with no medical cause
  • Avoidance of certain situations, such as refusing to go to school or ride the bus
  • Desperately seeks affection
  • A decrease in school performance or loss of interest in school
  • Loss of previously acquired developmental skills

Neglect

Can be understood as failure to provide required care, protection, and basic necessities like food, shelter and education.

How to recognize Neglect

  • Poor growth or weight gain
  • Poor hygiene
  • Lack of clothing or supplies to meet physical needs
  • Taking food or money without permission
  • Eating a lot in one sitting or hiding food for later
  • Poor record of school attendance
  • Lack of appropriate attention for medical, dental or psychological problems or lack of necessary follow-up care
  • Emotional swings that are inappropriate or out of context to the situation


Abused children manifest a variety of emotional, behavioural and somatic symptoms. These psychological symptoms are neither specific or pathognomic. The Psychological consequences of child abuse have wide range of effects.

If left acknowledged children may lead to

  • Learning disabilities
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Substance abuse
  • Delinquent or violent behavior
  • Abuse of others
  • Withdrawal
  • Suicide attempts or self-injury
  • High-risk sexual behaviors or teen pregnancy
  • Problems in school
  • Limited social and relationship skills
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Prevention

The measures that reduce the occurrence of child abuse are Raising public awareness through Media, Civic associations, Parent-teacher organizations, counseling and parenting maybe helpful to reduce the occurrence of child abuse. We can take simple steps to protect your child from exploitation and child abuse, as well as prevent child abuse in your neighborhood or community. The goal is to provide safe, stable, nurturing relationships for children. For example:

  • Reach out and develop a supportive network of family and friends so that child can share their problems on non-judgmental attitude.
  • Teach them about Bad touch and Good touch and make sure your child is comfortable saying no to people when they want to touch.
  • Keep supervision and be watchful of whom your child meets and look out for strangers or known people getting overtly friendly with them. Know your child's caregivers by referencing your domestic help properly.
  • Don't respond your child in anger and treat their problem patiently.

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