Child Abuse: The Epidemic That Must Cease

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Child abuse is epidemic in many countries as well as the United States. It is estimated that every thirteen seconds a child is abused in some manner: physically, sexually, emotionally or by neglect (Friedman). Each year, there are over 3 million reports of child abuse in the United States involving more than 6 million children. Child abuse can be reduced with proper education of the parents and with greater public awareness.

Child abuse is the physical, sexual, emotional mistreatment, or neglect of a child. There are four major categories: neglect, physical abuse, psychological/emotional abuse, and child sexual abuse (Levi, Lo, Selby, and Vandenburg). Neglect is a passive form of abuse in which a perpetrator is responsible to provide care for a victim who is unable to care for him or herself, but fails to provide adequate care. Physical abuse is abuse involving contact intended to cause feelings of intimidation, injury, or other physical suffering or bodily harm. This includes striking, extreme exposure to the elements (cold, heat, radiation, burning, or freezing), drowning, rape, poisoning, biting, and countless other forms of physical harm. Psychological abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse or mental abuse, is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. (Selby and Vandenburg) Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities, indecent exposure with intent to gratify sexual desires or to intimida...

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