ADDRESSING THE ISSUE OF PHYSICAL CHILD ABUSE
Addressing the issue of Child Abuse is a crucial issue that requires the cooperation of every stakeholder in every society of man. Each year we receive over half a million report on child abuse across Nigeria and about three million from neighbouring countries within West Africa.
The Humanitarian Foundation, as an NGO in charge of Child/Youth Development and Empowerment, we hereby call out to every well-meaning and responsible adult and great organizations of the world to join us in this fight through your voluntary services, financial and material donations, and any other positive means you can come in to assist the good work of this great foundation.
This terrible epidemic is a battle we all can put an end to or reduce to an insignificant level by a collective effort. This very article will exclude the type of physical child abuse that has to do with sexuality. Child sexual abuse will come in a later article.
NOW WHAT IS CHILD ABUSE?
Child Abuse is a situation when someone (an adult or a stronger/older fellow child), whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, emotional harm, risk of serious harm or pain, or even death to a child.
There are certain signs a responsible adult needs to understand and recognize in order to keep children safe and healthy always. It is crucial to recognize signs and potential risks in a child to tell whether the child is passing through a rough situation at home, especially, at school, place of worship and any other place.
We will look briefly on physical child abuse, signs in a parent or caregiver that is abusing a child, physical and behavioral signs in a suffering child. In our next article, we shall know how to respond to issues and make proper reports to the right authority.
To start with, any non-accidental physical injury to a child caused by a parent or caregiver is known as Physical Abuse of a Child. Down the history line as being updated daily; about 30% of the presently living adults across the globe have been reportedly being physically abused as a child.
Physical abuse includes striking, kicking, burning, biting, hair pulling, choking, throwing, shoving, whipping or any other action that injures a child. Even if the caregiver or abuser didn’t mean to cause injury, when the child is injured recurrently (including internal injury) it is abuse. Physical discipline from a parent or caregiver that does not injure or impair a child is not considered abuse; however non-violent alternatives are always available.
Physical abuse can result in the following: emotional and psychological harm; bruises, blisters, burns, cuts and scratches; broken bones, sprains, dislocated joints; Internal injuries, brain damage; Lifelong injury, and death out rightly.
When you see the following signs in adult – a parent or caregiver – know that such a person is abusing the child under his or her care;
- Can’t or won’t explain injury of child, or explains it in a way that doesn’t make sense
- Delays or prevents medical care for child in order to avoid being noticed or prosecuted.
- Keeps child from school, church, clubs, parks and any other fun-fair zone.
- Displays aggression to child or is overly anxious about child’s behavior
- Takes child to a hospital or doctors different from the family’s
- Indicates child is not trustworthy, a liar, evil, a troublemaker or a wicked child
- Has history of violence and/or abuse
- Condemns every achievement or good work of the child.
Some Physical Signs in a Suffering Child:
- Unexplained or explained in a way that doesn’t make sense
- Any injury to a child who is neither crawling nor toddling
- Injuries at different stages of healing
- Injuries or scars on different surfaces of the body
- Visible and severe injuries
- Idiosyncratic shape and/or disfigured body part
- Frequency, timing and history of injuries (frequent, after weekends, vacations, school and religious activities absences)
Some Behavioral Signs in a Suffering Child:
- Fear, withdrawal, depression, anxiety
- Aggression towards peers, pets, other animals
- Seems afraid of parents or other adults
- Wears long sleeves out of season
- Nightmares, insomnia
- Reports injury, severe discipline
- Violent themes in fantasy, art, and so on
- Immaturity, acting out, emotional and behavior extremes
- Self-destructive behavior or attitudes
Service to Humanity is a weekly publication to encourage Humanitarian Activities (financial donations and material support) across the globe by The Humanitarian Foundation Press Department. Igweike Raphael Otum (Founder and President, Councilor, Author, Businessman, Accountant, Evangelist and a Humanitarian) is the author of this wonderful publication, Service to Humanity.
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