Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse of CT, Inc

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Abuse and Neglect

The National Exchange Club Foundation offers information on Prevention and treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect at http://preventchildabuse.com

Physical Abuse
Physical abuse, which is 19% of all substantiated cases of child abuse, is the most visible form of abuse and may be defined as any act which results in a non-accidental trauma or physical injury. Inflicted physical injury most often represents unreasonable, severe corporal punishment or unjustifiable punishment. This usually happens when a frustrated or angry parent strikes, shakes or throws a child. Physical abuse injuries result from punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning or otherwise harming a child. While any of these injuries can occur accidentally when a child is at play, physical abuse should be suspected if the explanations do not fit the injury or if a pattern of frequency is apparent. The longer the abuse continues, the more serious the injuries to the child and the more difficult it is to eliminate the abusive behavior. More information – http://preventchildabuse.com/physical.htm

Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse, which is 8% of all substantiated cases of child abuse, is commonly defined as the systematic tearing down of another human being. It is considered a pattern of behavior that can seriously interfere with a child’s positive development. Emotional abuse is probably the least understood of all child abuse, yet it is the most prevalent, and can be the cruelest and most destructive of all types of abuse.

Because emotional abuse attacks the child’s psyche and self-concept, the victim comes to see him or herself as unworthy of love and affection. Children who are constantly shamed, humiliated, terrorized or rejected suffer at least as much, if not more, than if they had been physically assaulted.

An infant who is being severely deprived of basic emotional nurturing, even though physically well cared for, can fail to thrive and can eventually die. Less severe forms of early emotional deprivation may produce babies who grow into anxious and insecure children who are slow to develop or who might have low self-esteem. More information -http://preventchildabuse.com/emotion.htm

Sexual Abuse 
It is very difficult for most people to talk about sexual abuse and even more difficult for society as a whole to acknowledge that the sexual abuse of children of all ages — including infants — happens everyday in the United States. It is not an easy phenomenon to define, primarily because permissible childhood behavior varies in accordance with cultural, family and social tolerances. Sexual abuse, which is 10% of all substantiated cases of child abuse, is defined as the involvement of dependent, developmentally immature children in sexual activities that they do not fully comprehend and therefore to which they are unable to give informed consent and/or which violates the taboos of society.

Sexual abuse is any misuse of a child for sexual pleasure or gratification. It has the potential to interfere with a child’s normal, healthy development, both emotionally and physically. Often, sexually victimized children experience severe emotional disturbances from their own feelings of guilt and shame, as well as the feelings which society imposes on them. More information – http://preventchildabuse.com/sexual.htm

Neglect
Child neglect, which is 63% of all substantiated cases of child abuse, is the most common form of child maltreatment reported to child protective services. It is defined as a “type of maltreatment that refers to the failure to provide needed age-appropriate care,” such as shelter, food, clothing, education, supervision, medical care and other basic necessities needed for development of physical, intellectual and emotional capacities. Unlike physical and sexual abuse, neglect is usually typified by an ongoing pattern of inadequate care and is readily observed by individuals in close contact with the child. Physicians, nurses, day care personnel, relatives and neighbors are frequently the ones to suspect and report neglected infants, toddlers and preschool children. More information -http://preventchildabuse.com/neglect.htm

Shaken Baby Syndrome
When a baby is vigorously shaken, the head moves back and forth. This sudden whiplash motion causes bleeding inside the head and increased pressure on the brain, causing the brain to pull apart and resulting in injury to the baby. This is known as Shaken Baby Syndrome, and is one of the leading forms of fatal child abuse. A baby’s head and neck are susceptible to head trauma because his or her muscles are not fully developed and the brain tissue is exceptionally fragile. Head trauma is the leading cause of disability among abused infants and children.

Shaken Baby Syndrome occurs most frequently in infants younger than six months old, yet can occur up to the age of three. Often there are no obvious outward signs if inside injury, particularly in the head or behind the eyes. In reality, shaking a baby, if only for a few seconds, can injure the baby for life. These injuries can include brain swelling and damage; cerebral palsy; mental retardation; developmental delays; blindness; hearing loss; paralysis and death. When a child is shaken in anger and frustration, the force is multiplied five or 10 times than it would be if the child had simply tripped and fallen. More information – http://preventchildabuse.com/shaken.htm

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a leading cause of mental retardation. FAS is a cluster of birth defects that develop in infants of women who consume alcoholic beverages while pregnant. Defects include prenatal and postnatal growth deficiency, facial malformations, central nervous system dysfunction and varying degrees of major organ malfunctions. When mothers drink alcohol while pregnant, their babies could have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE). FAS and FAE are a group of birth defects that have no cure. People with FAS and FAE have a range of problems as severe as being mentally retarded to less visible problems like difficulty paying attention in school. The diagnosed cases of FAS is estimated to be one to three per 1,000 live births. One in 100 Americans is affected by FAS/FAE. There is no safe amount of alcohol for a pregnant woman. When a woman drinks, her baby drinks because the alcohol passes directly through the placenta to the baby.  More information -http://preventchildabuse.com/fas.htm