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Neglect; may trigger
Topic Started: Feb 27 2011, 04:31 PM (725 Views)
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While physical and sexual abuse get the most attention, perhaps because they involve physical violence, neglect is far and away the most common form of child abuse, accounting for more than 60 percent of all cases of child maltreatment.

Child neglect: types and warning signs

Neglect is a pattern of failing to provide for a child's basic needs, to the extent that the child’s physical and/or psychological well-being are damaged or endangered. In child neglect, the parents or caregivers are simply choosing not to do their job.
There are three basic types of neglect.

Physical Neglect
~Failure to provide adequate food, clothing, or hygiene
~Reckless disregard for the child’s safety, such as inattention to hazards in the home, drunk driving with kids in the car, leaving a baby unattended
~Refusal to provide or delay in providing necessary health care for the child
~Abandoning children without providing for their care or expelling children from the home without arranging for their care

Educational Neglect
~Failure to enroll a child in school
~Permitting or causing a child to miss too many days of school
~Refusal to follow up on obtaining services for a child’s special educational needs

Emotional Neglect
~Inadequate nurturing or affection
~Exposure of the child to spousal abuse
~Permitting a child to drink alcohol or use recreational drugs
~Failure to intervene when the child demonstrates antisocial behavior
~Refusal of or delay in providing necessary psychological care

Some signs of child neglect:
~Clothes that are dirty, ill-fitting, ragged, and/or not suitable for the weather
~Unwashed appearance
~Offensive body odor
~Indicators of hunger: asking for or stealing food, going through trash for food, eating too fast or too much when food is provided for a group
~Apparent lack of supervision: wandering alone, home alone, left in a car
~Colds, fevers, or rashes left untreated
~Infected cuts
~Chronic tiredness
~In schoolchildren, frequent absence or lateness; troublesome, disruptive behavior or its opposite, withdrawal
~In babies, failure to thrive; failure to relate to other people or to surroundings
~A single occurrence of one of these indicators isn’t necessarily a sign of child neglect, but a pattern of behaviors may demonstrate a lack of care that constitutes abuse.

Effects of child abuse

Child abuse can produce dire consequences during the victim’s childhood and adulthood. Some effects of child abuse are obvious: a child is malnourished or has a cast on her arm; a nine-year-old develops a sexually transmitted disease. But some physiological effects of child abuse, such as cognitive difficulties or lingering health problems, may not show up for some time or be clearly attributable to abuse. Other effects of child abuse are invisible or go off like time bombs later in life.

Emotional Effects of Child Abuse
Just as all types of child abuse have an emotional component, all affect the emotions of the victims. These effects include:
~Low self-esteem
~Depression and anxiety
~Aggressive behavior/anger issues
~Relationship difficulties
~Alienation and withdrawal
~Personality disorders
~Clinginess, neediness
~Flashbacks and nightmares

Many adults who were abused as children find it difficult to trust other people, endure physical closeness, and establish intimate relationships.

Behavioral Effects of Child Abuse
Child abuse can play itself out not only in how its victims feel but in what they do years later. Children who suffer abuse have much greater chances of being arrested later as juveniles and as adults. Significant percentages of inmates in U.S. prisons were abused as children. One of every three abused or neglected children will grow up to become an abusive parent.

Other behavioral effects include

~Problems in school and work
~Teen pregnancy
~Suicide attempts
~Criminal or antisocial behavior
~Alcohol and drug abuse
~Eating disorders
~Spousal abuse

Getting help for an abused child

Although many people are reluctant to get involved in other families’ lives, when it comes to child abuse, you don’t have the option of keeping mum. If you know of a child being abused or even suspect abuse, you have the responsibility to report it. In the United States, Canada, and Australia, the concept of mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse is well established and is beginning to catch on in other countries around the world. Laws on mandatory reporters designate classes of professionals — typically school personnel, social workers, health care workers, mental health professionals, childcare providers, and law enforcement personnel, but in some states also clergy, film processors, and drug abuse counselors — who must report suspected child abuse. Eighteen states and Puerto Rico require all citizens to report suspected abuse or neglect.

By reporting, you can make a tremendous difference in the life of a child and the child’s family, especially if you help stop the abuse early. Early identification and treatment can help mitigate the long-term effects of abuse. If the abuse is stopped and the child receives competent treatment, the abused child can begin to regain a sense of self-confidence and trust. Parents may also benefit from support, parent training and anger management.
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