Yesterday's post on child abuse offered some suggestions to teachers on how to spot children who may be victims of abuse. Approximately 12 out of every 1,000 American children up to age 17 are treated for child abuse each year. Len, publisher of InnerVue, provides some insight on the impact to young victims.
She writes, "Emotional abuse is probably the cause of so many people experiencing depression, anxiety, anti-social behavior, and anger. This silent victimization can begin in childhood and the effects of it expands into adulthood, and the cycle repeats itself."
Len also recommends taking a look at the American Humane website - a great resource for anyone with an interest in child safety.
Defining emotional abuse
According to American Humane, "emotional abuse of a child is commonly defined as a pattern of behavior by parents or caregivers that can seriously interfere with a child's cognitive, emotional, psychological, or social development." To learn what constitutes emotional abuse, also known as psychological maltreatment, click here.
Abuse can take many forms, and some children can suffer from more than one type. According to data collected by the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), the majority of children confirmed to be victims of mistreatment experience neglect. Following are the percentages of children who experience some form of abuse:
Physical abuse 18.6%
Sexual abuse 9.6%
"Other" includes abandonment, threats to harm the child, congenital drug addiction, and other situations that are not counted as specific categories in NCANDS. The percentages here add up to more than 100% because some children were victims of more than one type of abuse.
Race, gender and age of victims
In 2001, according to America Humane, roughly half (50.2%) of children who were abused were white, 25% were African American, and 14.5% were Hispanic. American Indians and Alaska Natives accounted for 2% of victims, and Asian-Pacific Islanders accounted for 1.3% of victims. These rates have remained consistent for the past several years. Boys are targeted as often as girls.
Teacher cites examples of abuse
Jaimie, publisher of Life Is Hilarious, is a kindergarten teacher. This veteran educator knows all too well that life is not always hilarious in the classroom. Jaimie shares some first-hand knowledge of what she has seen at her school:
One girl in kindergarten, who was not in my class, came to school with a black eye. Her sister, who was in 4th grade, came to school with a broken nose. Mom spent time in jail, then was released and the girls were back with her. It's just a matter of time before it happens again.
Another story: I had a child in my class who was extremely intelligent (reading at a second/third grade level), but who was absent frequently, would crawl into classroom closets, and purposely sabotage her work. She eventually told me that her mother's boyfriend was beating up her mom, and even broke her nose (I saw the mom's broken nose, but she told me she was 'in a car accident'). The girl was constantly living in fear. They ended up moving to Las Vegas.
Jaimie adds that the article by Kristen Houghton (featured in the previous post) was informative, but Jaimie would have liked to have seen more clarity in some areas.
"Some children are just more quiet than others, and some children just have strange dispositions," she says. "It is hard to detect an abused child if you were to rely on personality alone."
If you suspect your student is a victim of child abuse, report it to the appropriate school personnel so that the local child protection agency can be contacted. If the child is in immediate danger, call the police.
The Children's Bureau
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration
for Children and Families
The National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information
American Psychology Association
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Facts for Families
Dr. Deborah Serani
What parents need to know about child abuse
Tags: Children, Parenting, K-12, Education, Health, Child Psychology, Psychology, Mental Health, Education by Sistrunk
© 2005 D. C. Sistrunk - All rights reserved.