The Child Abuse Epidemic in the United States

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According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 3.3 million referrals for alleged maltreatment were made in 2013. Out of the 3.3 million referrals, 899,000 children were officially documented as being maltreated(Child Abuse & Neglect 2015). Child abuse is the mistreatment of a child. Child abuse is recognized in several forms; physical, emotional, sexual and neglect. Children who experience any form of abuse will tend to withdraw themselves from their peers and sometimes from other family members who are not aware of what is taking place. Child abuse occurs not just in the homes of these children, but can also occur in schools, churches and after school programs. Anywhere a child is present there is a chance that abuse can occur. This paper will review the forms of child abuse, the effects of child abuse, reasons child abuse occurs and possible therapies to bring healing in the parties involved.

Forms & Definition of Child Abuse

Physical Abuse

According to Trickett, Negreff, Ji and Peckins, physical abuse is defined as, “…any nonaccidental physical injury to a child (resulting from such acts such as striking, kicking, burning) perpetrated by a parent or caregiver” (2011). It is imperative for one to realize that physical abuse is not only committed by a parent and that the caregiver can also include, but is not limited to an older sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, or church worker. Physical abuse is not just limited to those examples listed previously, but can also include biting, pinching, punching, and choking. According to Gill, “Children with special needs (physical disabilities or chronic illness, neurological impairment, mental health issues) that increase the caregiver’s burden are at increase...

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