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Child abuse

Child abuse
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Child abuse is the physical or psychological maltreatment of a child by an adult, often
synonymous with the term child maltreatment or the term child abuse and neglect.
There are many forms of abuse and neglect and many governments have developed their
own legal definition of what constitutes child maltreatment for the purposes of removing
a child and/or prosecuting a criminal charge. In the United States, the Federal
Government puts out a full definition of child abuse and neglect and creates a summary
of each State definition. To view, go to Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect:
Summary of State Laws [1] that is part of the 2005 State Statute series by the Child
Welfare Information Gateway.
Effects of child abuse on the child and development
The U.S. National Adoption Center found that 52% of adoptable children (meaning those
children in U.S. foster care) freed for adoption had symptoms of attachment disorder. A
study by Dante Cicchetti found that 80% of abused and maltreat infants exhibited
attachment disorder symptoms (disorganized subtype). [1] [2]
Children with histories of maltreatment, such as physical and psychological neglect and
physical abuse are at risk of developing severe psychiatric problems. [3] [4] These children
are likely to develop reactive attachment disorder. [5] [6] These children may be described
as experiencing trauma-attachment problems. The trauma experienced is the result of
abuse or neglect, inflicted by a primary caregiver, which disrupts the normal development
of secure attachment. Such children are at risk of developing a disorganized attachment.
[5] [7] [8]
Disorganized attachment is associated with a number of developmental problems,
including dissociative symptoms, [9] as well as anxiety, depressive, and acting-out
Circumstances that place families under extraordinary stress ―for instance, poverty,
divorce, sickness, disability, lack of parental skills― sometimes take their toll in child
maltreatment. Many of these factors may contribute to family stress that can result in
child abuse or neglect. Understanding the root causes of abuse can help better determine
the best methods of prevention and treatment. Most parents don't hurt or neglect their
children intentionally. Many themselves were abused or neglected.
Given these possible causes, most professionals agree that there are three levels of
prevention services; primary prevention, secondary prevention, and tertiary prevention.
Primary prevention
Primary prevention consists of activities that are targeted at the community level. These
activities are meant to impact families prior to any allegations of abuse and neglect.
Primary prevention services include public education activities, parent education classes
that are open to anyone in the community, and family support programs. Primary
prevention can be difficult to measure because you are attempting to impact something
before it happens, an unknown variable.
Secondary prevention
Secondary prevention consists of activities targeted to families that have one or more risk
factors including families with substance abuse, teen parents, parents of special need
children, single parents, and low income families. Secondary prevention services include
parent education classes targeted for high risk parents, respite care for parents of a child
with a disability, or home visiting programs for new parents.
Tertiary prevention
Tertiary prevention consists of activities targeted to families that have confirmed or
unconfirmed child abuse and neglect reports. These families have already demonstrated
the need for intervention, with or without court supervision. Prevention supporters
consider 'tertiary prevention' synonymous with treatment, and entirely different from
prevention through family support.