What is Abuse?

Most of us would be able to define abuse if we were asked. We would probably say “hurting a child or a spouse,” but the concept of abuse goes much further.

The Department of Children and Families in Connecticut defines it this way:

“Abuse is a non-accidental injury to a child which, regardless of motive, is inflicted or allowed to be inflicted by the person responsible for the child’s care. It includes physical injury, malnutrition, sexual molestation, deprivation of necessities, emotional maltreatment or cruel punishment.”

According to this definition, abuse can occur with any kind of bad treatment by a care-giver. It certainly is a warning to people in the business of professional childcare.

In a story from the journal Pediatrics last August, and reported on Time.com, a group of pediatricians warn other doctors to stay alert to the signs of psychological maltreatment as well. This kind of abuse includes terrorizing, belittling or neglecting a child and can be every bit as devastating as other types of abuse.

One of the doctors contributing to the article, Harriet MacMillan of Canada, said “We are talking about extremes and the likelihood of harm, or risk of harm resulting from the kinds of behavior that make a child feel worthless, unloved or unwanted.”

Psychological abuse is more common, and as harmful as other child maltreatment. This type of abuse is hard to identify because it is not defined by any specific event, such as a hospital visit for a burn or a broken bone. It can only be recognized by observing the nature of the relationship between the caregiver and the child.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. From The Pews
    Feb 13, 2013 @ 16:30:55

    Abuse is a topic that rarely gets the attention it merits.

    And you are absolutely right, physical abuse is the most visible, but Emotional and Psychological Abuse are just as bad, if not worse…

    Thank you for this post…


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