Child abuse occurs all too often and can occur in a wide variety of forms. Although each state describes the act of child abuse and neglect differently almost all states recognize four common types of abuse and neglect on children such as sexual abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect and physical abuse. Sadly, when children are abused by their parents or caretakers you tend to find a combination of these types of abuse occurring within the home. Most Jurisdictions in Virginia consider parental substance abuse and abandonment as a form of child abuse as well.
Physical abuse is when a child is physically harmed in a non-accidental manner which can range from severe injuries to minor bruises and injuries. These injuries are typically caused from physical violence from a parent or caregiver due to hitting, punching, throwing, kicking, biting, hitting with an object, burning, beating or shaking a child whom the caregiver holds primary responsibility for. Even if the parent or caregiver did not mean to hurt the child by their actions, if bodily injury occurrs then it is considered to be physical abuse. Spanking a child is not considered to be physical abuse as long as it is within reasonable limitations and does not cause bodily harm to the child.
Child neglect is another common form of abuse and occurs when the caregiver or parent does not do what is required in order to meet the basic needs of the child. Child neglect can take on many forms such as failing to provide adequate food or shelter, lack of supervision, failure to provide necessary medical care or treatment, failure to provide the needed special education for a child with special needs, failure to properly educate a child by not sending them to school or due to consistent truancy, failure to attend to the emotional needs of the child and allowing the child to perform inappropriate activities such as consuming alcohol or drugs. Although in some cases the religious beliefs, cultural values and poverty may be considered when determining if these actions are considered to be child neglect.
Sexual abuse is a form of child abuse that is especially heinous and occurs when a parent or caregiver performs inappropriate sexual actions with a child in their care. Penetration, fondling of a child, incest, indecent exposure, rape, exploitation and sodemy are all forms of sexual abuse in a child. Any form of incest, sexual exploitation, prostitution or molestation by a parent relative or caregiver is considered to be a form of child sexual abuse and is a prosecutable offense in all states!
The last type of child abuse that we will discuss is emotional abuse and occurs when a pattern of consistent behavior causes harm to the emotional development of the child. This can be a variety of things such as constant yelling, criticism, rejection and threats or withholding love, guidance and support as a form of punishment. This type of child abuse is often hard to prove and makes it extremely hard for child protection services to remove the child from the situation unless the abuse is able to be proven to cause mental harm, injury or long term emotional damage to the child.
Article Written by John Morse