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Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

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  • Category: Abuse

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Physical abuse is where a person is physically hurt or injured purposely by another person with the intention to cause them harm. Physical abuse includes hitting, slapping, kicking, biting, head butting, drowning, burning etc and often occurs in places that are easy to hide under clothing. Physical child abuse is any form of physical injuries inflicted upon the child with cruel and/or malicious intent. Physical abuse can result in bruises, burns, poisoning, broken bones, and internal haemorrhages.

Some of my definition was used from the information I gained using this website http://medical-dictionary. thefreedictionary. com/abusehttp://medical-dictionary. thefreedictionary. com/abuse, I also found some statistics from 2006 that there were 1,530 child fatalities that resulted from child abuse (a rate of just over 2 deaths per 100,000 children). Of these, about three-quarters of the children were less than four years old, with the largest number of deaths occurring in infants under the age of one year old.

Signs and symptoms Signs and symptoms of physical abuse include visual injuries such as bite marks, bruising, burns and scalds. Shaken Baby Syndrome is a common form of abuse where the baby is violently shaken usually to prevent the baby to stop crying, this can cause brain damage and other severe injuries such as bruising, retinal damage in one or both eyes that may result in blindness, and rib breakage etc.

It is much easier to identify physical abuse where bruising is concerned, this is because the bruises will be found in unusual places such as the private areas, the chest, the top of legs and the inside of the inner thigh, this is because these areas are areas that are fully clothed which makes it much more difficult for anyone to see this unless they come into bodily contact with the child for example professionals such as a P. E teacher or a doctor are most likely to witness any bruises on that child.

They are many reasons as to why a child might be subjected to sexual abuse, neglect, physical and/or emotional abuse, this occurs when a parent is not in the right state of mind, whether this is due to an unstable relationship, childhood, the use of high class drugs and alcohol or because they are mentally ill and are unable to care for themselves.

Abuse occurs under lots of different circumstances such as a parent been abused a child then selves, Cinderella syndrome, alcohol or drug abusers, those that are socially excluded, parents who find it hard to cope and those who lack knowledge tend to abuse their children. It is known that a parent who has been abused as a child and who is emotionally damaged and suffers severe psychological problems abuses their own children. This is because they have not witnessed s good role model of parenting and are unable to discipline a child due to this.

Cinderella syndrome is a common reason for abuse of young children, often babies. This is where the step-parent who is no blood relation of the baby, often male who are in a relationship with the babies mother but who are not physically, mentally or emotionally prepared for parenthood and so result to abusing the baby. The abuse tends to be due to jealousy of the young baby and because they are too immature to face responsibilities.

Alcohol or drug abusers tend to abuse their children due to loss of control and the violent temperament they form when so dependent on drugs/alcohol. People who are socially excluded and have a baby to fill emotional gap will feel deeply disappointed when their baby is born as for the first year or so the baby is solely dependent on the parent and does not show a loving nature in the way in which a socially deprived parent would expect, this is when problems may occur as the parent will begin to neglect this child and emotionally abuse them.

A parent who lacks knowledge of a child’s needs may subject them to forms of abuse such as neglect, as they are unaware of how to care for them properly. Sometimes adults who have children have mental disabilities which dis-enable them to look after their children; this means they might subsequently ignore their children. Or neglect of a child might occur because they have more “important priorities” to attend to, leaving their child the least of their worries and this leads to them becoming dirty, hungry, unloved etc.

Lack of knowledge of children’s needs The lack of knowledge of a child’s individual needs can lead to physical abuse, this is because the parent might not be in the right mental state of mind and find it difficult to understand why their child is continuously crying when they have done everything to calm the child down. This may result in the parent getting so frustrated that they react before thinking by hitting the child or commonly known with small babies to shake the baby vigorously in order to quieten the baby which can cause brain damage.

Case scenario: Max has moved in with his new girlfriend Laura and her baby Olivia six month old. Max never wanted children of his own as he believes at 26 he is too young for such a massive responsibility, however his love for his girlfriend meant that he had to enable himself to adjust to the idea of been a role model to baby Olivia. Laura believes Max to be a good father figure to Olivia and happily leaves her baby with him whilst she goes out with her friends. Max has never been left with Olivia for more than a few hours and the baby is usually asleep and remains that way until her mum returns.

However, Olivia has a chest infection and has been waking up constantly and crying to the point where Max has shaken the baby quite hard and put her back in the cot. Laura returns to find her babies head looking slightly swollen and asks Max if he has dropped her, he admits he might of shaken her gently to quieten her to Laura’s disbelief she takes Olivia straight to A&E, thankfully test results show there is no permanent damage to her but that social services have to be contacted immediately.

Parents finding it hard to cope Parents finding it hard to cope might resort to physically hurting their child; a child becomes their way of letting out their anger and frustration and some parents believe that they are disciplining their child by hitting them when in reality they are in fact abusing them. Case scenario: Mark is 60 years old and has been brought up to be a well-mannered respectful man. He owns his own business which he has recently signed over to his eldest son. He has two grown up children in there twenties. His oldest child has a three year old and a 16 year old.

One day the 16 year old swears at her father in frustration because he refuses to let her go to a party. Her father smacks her so hard that she falls to the floor; she leaves the room hysterical which sets off the three year old. Mark is disgusted with the way his son dealt with his grand-daughter and does not believe he should hit her to discipline her. Mark explains that hitting her was wrong, but his son snarls and says it is nothing to do with him and that he will hit her harder next time if she continues to disrespect him.

Drug and alcohol related issues Someone who is abusing drugs or alcohol because they find it hard to cope with looking after their child might hit and abuse this child when under the influence of drugs, as they are emotionally and mentally unstable and are so dependent on drugs/alcohol that they no longer know how to be a good parent or how to look after them or themselves Case scenario: Lucy is seventeen years old and has just had a baby. She is not with the baby’s father and does not have any immediate family as she has been disowned.

She resorts to heavy intakes of both drugs and alcohol due to post-natal depression and does not attend to her baby when her baby is crying or hungry or in need of a clean nappy. Social services are contacted by a concerned neighbour, the baby is taken off of Lucy and placed into care, help and support is offered to Lucy to enable her to stop taking drugs and alcohol in the hope that she will overcome her post-natal depression through medication and counselling and be able to get the right amount of support to ensure she can bring up her baby properly.

Cycle of abuse Sometimes abuse occurs when a parent has been abused themselves as a young child and has not had the right parenting to enable them to grow up knowing that physical abuse is wrong and this sometimes means that they abuse their children because they do not know how to discipline a child without hurting them. Case scenario: Jack was abused as a young boy, his alcoholic father was forever hurling objects and himself and his mother and repeatedly smacked Jack with his belt if he refused to eat his vegetables.

Jack’s mother lived in fear of her husband so therefore she never told him to leave Jack alone. Jack grew up believing that if he was bad then he should except the punishment and so was shocked when his own wife Molly hit Jack for hitting their own child. Molly was disgusted with Jack and had to drag him off their son who had dared to come in later than the usual curfew set by Jack himself. Jack admitted that he was abused as a child and did not realise what he had just done was wrong and agreed to have counselling and to attend parenting classes.

Emotional abuse Emotional abuse appears to be the most prevalent form of child maltreatment and is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in illnesses such as chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.

It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

A definition of Emotional abuse from the website http://www. nspcc. org. uk/ /emotionalabuse. html written by the Department of Health involved in social services. Signs and symptoms People who have or are suffering from emotional abuse will have very low self-esteem, lack highly in confidence, tell lies mainly to seek for attention that they are lacking, stammer, throw tantrums and tearfulness.

Boys suffering from emotional abuse will appear much more aggressive than a oy that is not suffering from emotional abuse, tantrums, lying and cheating, destructive behaviour, and disobedience, loud and argumentative are the most common symptoms of this form of abuse. Girls who suffer become withdrawn, passive, approval seeking, frustrated and stubborn. Lack of knowledge of children’s needs A parent may subject their child to emotional abuse because they are unsure of their child’s needs. This may be a result of their own parents not showing them positive regard and unconditional love so find it difficult to love their own child and therefore mistreat them.

Case scenario: Sam is an aggressive little boy and is constantly getting into trouble in school for hitting the other children. His teacher is concerned about Sam’s behaviour and decides to ask his parents to attend a meeting where they can discuss Sam and find out what might be making him act this way. She is shocked to discover that throughout the meeting his parents do not look at Sam once, it is almost as if he does not exist. Instead they seem to focus on Sam’s older brother who they believe Sam is jealous of.

It appears to her that Sam is acting the way he is because he feels he is worthless and that his parents don’t love him because he isn’t like his older brother. Parents finding it hard to cope Parents finding it hard to cope with a young child may subject them to emotional abuse as they may be depressed and feeling low which means that they are not in a fit emotional state of mind to be caring for a young child. They might ignore that their child exists which to the small child will make them feel unloved and will affect them emotionally.

Also parents abuse their children because they are self-centred and are too busy with their own affairs to take notice of their children or to pay interest into their life. Case scenario: Debbie is 35 years old and has two children aged seven and four. Debbie is a single working mum, and she works in a very well-paid business which she has only recently started. Debbie never wanted children and was disappointed when she fell pregnant with her youngest child as this meant it would jeopardise her career that had taken her a long period of time to achieve.

Her children attend a private school whilst she works and she has a baby sitter take them to and from school, this means she barely has quality time with her children which does not seem to bother her as this is what she prefers, Debbie believes that because she is providing her children with a good education and expensive clothing that she is a good mum. However, she is neglecting her children emotionally as she is too selfish to show an interest into school work, activities etc and she never tells them she loves them or praises her children at how well they are doing at school which her children find upsetting.

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