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Understanding Child Abuse

Updated on November 13, 2017
Nitika Mehra profile image

Nitika is a psychologist and has been working in a hospital and several online counselling platforms.

What is Child Abuse?

A child is any person below 18 years of age.

Child abuse is by another person, adult or child- that causes harm to a child-that causes harm to a child. It can be physical, emotional or sexual, or may also be a lack of love, care and attention.

A quarter of all adults report having been physically abused as children. (WHO,2014)
A quarter of all adults report having been physically abused as children. (WHO,2014)

"Child abuse leaves a long and persistent effect on the self-esteem of an individual, continuing even till adulthood."

There are many forms of child abuse

1. Physical Abuse:

Inflicting physical injury upon a child. This may include hitting slapping, kicking, beating , pinching or otherwise harming a child.

2. Emotional abuse

It can be emotional or mental( called as psychological). It includes teasing, threatening, mimicking, belittling name-calling, spreading rumours and objectifying.

Stalking is also a part of emotional abuse. Its a behaviour that makes the victim feel unsafe. This may include, unwanted home visits, phone calls, texts, emails, or letters; leaving presents, following, watching her/his school, home and so on.

3. Sexual Abuse

Inappropriate sexual behaviour with a child, which includes:

  • fondling a child's genitals or making him/her make fondle an adult's genitals.
  • sexual assault( intercourse, incest,rape,sodomy)
  • exhibitionism and pornography, indecent exposure
  • talking to a child about sex for inappropriate reasons or narrating stories having sexual content.
  • making obscene phone calls, sending sexually-oriented emails or text messages.
  • peeping when the child is taking a bath, undressing etc.

4. Child Neglect

Not providing the child with the basic necessities. May they be physical, educational,emotional or psychological.

"A child is like a sapling. It needs nurturance and safety to grow."

Some common Myths related to Child Abuse

1. It doesn't happen in good families.

2. Only girls are the victim

3. Educating about child abuse scares children

4. Only men are offenders

5. Abuse happens in high risk cities or high risk families.

Be Aware, Show courage, Offer Help!
Be Aware, Show courage, Offer Help!

© 2017 Nitika Mehra


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    • Nitika Mehra profile imageAUTHOR

      Nitika Mehra 

      17 months ago from Delhi

      Thank you for reading my articles and for your valuable responses. I will write one more to help in the early detection of child abuse as well. Thanks for helping me in getting a new idea :)

    • Liztalton profile image


      17 months ago from Washington

      I love how you stated the myths behind child abuse. Unfortunately I have heard all those myths before. It takes vigilant eyes to spot child abuse when it occurs. Early detection is so critical to help children suffering. Great article!


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