What is Child Abuse?
The phrases child abuse and neglect and child maltreatment are frequently used interchangeably. Child maltreatment is defined by Federal and State laws. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) set the standards for defining child maltreatment. CAPTA defines child maltreatment or child abuse and neglect as:
“Any recent 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.”
Link between Child Abuse and Domestic Violence
Researchers have long been aware of the link between domestic violence and child abuse. Even if children are witnesses to acts of violence and not the intended targets, they can be affected in the same way as children who are physically and sexually abused. Since domestic violence is a pattern of behavior, not a single event, episodes may become more severe and more frequent over time, resulting in an increased likelihood that the children eventually become victims.
Signs of Abuse in a Child
It is important to note that even if a child exhibits some of the red flags listed here, it does not automatically mean the child is being abused. Some red flags are:
- Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
- Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents' attention
- Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
- Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
- Lacks adult supervision
- Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
- Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
Reporting Child Abuse
Many States have toll-free phone numbers to call and report suspected child abuse and neglect. For information about where to call or make a report in your State, call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.4-A.CHILD / 1.800.422.4453.
For more information about child abuse and neglect please visit http://www.childwelfare.gov/.
Our monthly webinars feature information about Children & Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Violence.http://www.preventchildabuse.orghttp://new.vawnet.org/Assoc_Files_VAWnet/PCAA_DVandChild.pdfhttp://www.childwelfare.gov