April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and, Our Banana Moments is supporting efforts to raise awareness by devoting blog topics to child abuse and neglect throughout the month. The numbers of infants, babies, and children affected by abuse and neglect is staggering. In 2006, 905,000 children were determined to be victims of abuse or neglect. Of the 905,000 victims, 1,530 children died due to child abuse or neglect.
What is Child Abuse or Neglect?
Each State has its own definition of child abuse or neglect. Each State must define their definition based on minimum standards set by Federal Law.
At the very least, child abuse or neglect is defined as any act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or, an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.
Types of Child Abuse or Neglect?
Physical Abuse: is the intentional (non-accidental) physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other object), burning, or otherwise harming a child, that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver, or other person who has responsibility for the child.
Neglect: is the failure of a parent, guardian, or other caregiver to provide for the basic needs of a child. A child’s basic needs may be food, shelter, medical, education and or emotional needs.
Sexual Abuse: is the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct; or the rape, and in cases of caretaker or inter-familial relationships, statutory rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children.
Emotional Abuse: is a pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance.
*If you are concerned that a child is being harmed by abuse or neglect, you can report your concerns to your local child welfare or law enforcement agency. For more information or assistance with reporting, please call Childhelp® at 800.4.A.CHILD (800.422.4453).
Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/canstats.cfm