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The Many Ways You May Have Abused Children

Updated on January 5, 2010

Child Abuse


It is indeed troubling that children who constitute the most vulnerable segment of the society and deserve the protection of all their rights have, in our time, become the target of abuse.

A child is abused when an adult mistreats or neglects them. The person who abuses is misusing their position of trust and authority. This could be a parent, guardian, paid caregiver or sibling. Neglect, which is part of child abuse means not giving the child what they need to develop—this can hurt the child both emotionally and physically. One neglects a child when they

§  Do not make them feel loved, wanted, safe and worthy

§  Do not let them see a doctor or take personal care of themselves

§  Do not interfere when the child is at risk of harm

§  Deny them an education

§  Deny them food, clothing and shelter when these could be afforded and provided

§  Leave the child at home too often ; parents are responsible for watching over their children until they are at least 16.

Child Abuse could take various forms:

§  Physical

§  Sexual

§  Emotional

§  Ritual

Physical Abuse

This means inflicting physical harm on a child. It may involve abusing the child a single time or it may involve a pattern of incidents. Examples are: shaking, choking, biting, or burning a child; handling a child roughly when helping them with dressing and going to the bathroom; using force or restraint in any other harmful way; circumcision of the female child.

Sexual Abuse

This happens when an adult or adolescent uses a child for sexual purposes. It can mean exposing them to sexual activity or behavior. It can include touching and kissing a child’s breasts or genitals; inviting the child to touch someone else sexually;  forcing a child into prostitution or pornography.

Emotional Abuse

This includes other acts that can harm a child’s sense of worth. It is usually part of a long-term problem. Examples are:

Ø  It harms a child’s self confidence when an adult insults, rejects, or mistreats them often

Ø  Isolating a child—keeping them away from other children, or removing their wheelchair or hearing aids

Ø  Intimidating or terrorizing a child—locking children in closets or basements, threatening or shouting at them and making them fear the adult

Ø  Exploiting a child—having them do things children do not normally  do such as working when they should be in school

Ø  Making unreasonable demands—telling them to play outside without getting dirty

Ritual Abuse

People generally understand ritual abuse to be extreme abuse that goes on for a long time. In this case, the adults use their religious or political beliefs to defend the abuse. Ritual abuse often includes: mind control; torture; murder.


Section 218-219 of the Criminal Code Act states that any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under 13 is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for life . An attempt to commit rape attracts 14 years imprisonment.

Children depend upon adults to protect, support and help them survive. Being abused damages their sense of safety. It also makes them more likely to be abused and exploited in the future.


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