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Child abuse is any action by another person (adult or child) that causes significant harm to a child, it can be physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect. I can identify and describe the categories of abuse and can also identify the possible indicators of abuse within each category:-

Physical Abuse is any intentional act that inflicts injury to a child by any person caring for them. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fakes the symptoms of or deliberately causes ill health to a child they are looking after known as Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. It is also when a person caring for the child knowingly fails to prevent an injury.

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Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating. Physical abuse is to cause intentional harm to a child by beating, whipping, punching, slapping or hitting, shoving, shaking, kicking or throwing (including objects), pinching, biting, choking or hair pulling, burning with cigarettes, scalding water or other hot objects. Physical punishment prohibited or inappropriate to a child’s age.

Bodily signs of possible physical abuse may include the following: bruising, cuts, scratches and bite marks, mouth injuries, fractures, burns, scalds, welt and strap marks. The many injuries children sustain being full of energy and playing rough can be explained easily and reasonably however I am aware to be wary if a child has a bruise or other mark that has a particular pattern such as a finger print, strap mark or if they have injuries in places you would not expect such as on the mouth or the eye. Other strands of development can also be affect from being physically abused. Children may show emotional affects by being wary of adults, feelings of anger and frustration, be afraid or anxious, lack confidence, be depressed, unable to trust others a lot of the time, suffer from sleep disturbance, dress inappropriately to hide bruises and be inconsistent with explanations of how injuries occurred. Have poor self-esteem, be emotionally withdrawn, be scared of the dark or hide in cupboards, cry excessively, children may flinch when touched (appropriately) and may not want to leave school at the end of the day. The abuse may affect children’s cognitive development causing poor achievement at school, lack problem solving and unable to concentrate. Other delays in speech and language development possibly being mute although has the ability to talk. Sudden changes in behaviour may be a sign of physical abuse the child may become violent towards other children and animals, be extremely aggressive or withdrawn, be unresponsive to others and show self-harming behaviours.

I have gained the following knowledge and understanding of from class powerpoints and independent research.

Emotional abuse is continual emotional neglect or ill treatment which has serious and harmful effects on a child’s emotional development. Venting to a child to make them feel worthless and inadequate making them feel unloved and undervalued. It may include making a child feel frightened or the feeling that they are in danger or being exploited.
Emotional abuse can involve trying to intentionally scare or embarrass a child.

Emotional abuse is when children are not given enough love, approval or acceptance. They may be constantly criticised, blamed, swore or shouted at. Indications of emotional abuse may be attention seeking behaviours, the inability to have fun, having low self-esteem, having tantrums past the normal development age, constantly trying to please, having poor attachment bonds with parents/carers, telling lies and having the inability to play. Poor physical development having not attained significant developmental milestones and showing signs of self-harm or physical abuse are indicators to be aware of. Prolonged vomiting or bed-wetting, child looking to be ill frequently. Cognitive development can be affected by delaying language, having difficulties in problem solving, having a poor concentration span and taking risks.

Sexual Abuse involves a child being used for the sexual satisfaction of another person whether they agreed to the activity or not. Sexual abuse includes a child being made or persuaded to form sexual acts even when they are unaware of what is happening. Some activities may include physical contact or non physical for example making the children look or take part in indecent productions or images. Encouraging children to behave inappropriately, in a sexual manner or allowing them to use graphic sexualised language is abuse.

Sexual abuse is any sort of non-consensual sexual contact which includes the use of insulting remarks, refusal to use contraception, purposely causing physical pain during sex and spreading sexual diseases. Some of the physical indicators of sexual abuse are torn, stained or bloody underclothing, bruises, lacerations, redness, swelling or bleeding in genital, vaginal or anal area, blood in urine or faeces, urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted disease, unusual or excessive itching or pain in the genital or anal area, sexual active at an early age, loss of appetite, bed wetting and sleep disturbances. Fire lighting by boys. Emotional indicators are excessive crying, poor self-esteem and being anxious. Behaviour signs are having a noticeable fear of a person or certain places e.g. bedrooms, age-inappropriate sexual play with toys, self, and others. Sexually explicit language, drawings and unusual sexual knowledge.

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs which may result in acute damage of a child’s healthy development. Parents or carers may fail to support their children by offering insufficient food, clothing and shelter to shield them from danger or physical harm and also by not providing the appropriate medical treatment or care. Failing to respond to a child’s emotional needs is also a form of neglect. Neglect may also cause a diaignosis of suffering from ‘non-organic failure to thrive’, where there is a considerably failure to reach their normal weight or development milestones and where physical and inherited reasons have been medically excluded.

Neglect is a pattern of behaviour which occurs over a period of time and results in impaired functioning or development of a child possible indicators are poor hygiene (dirty and unbathed), inappropriate dress for the weather conditions, untreated medical problems, malnourished always being hungry, sever nappy rash or skin conditions, poor motor skills and co-ordination and being frequently late for school. Emotional and behavioural indicators are being listless and inactive, depression, feelings of inferiority to peers, may steal food, doesn’t show excitement and excessively seeks adult approval.

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