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Understanding Child Abuse


The long-term affects of child abuse or neglect can be devastating. ... What is Child Abuse? ... Child Abuse and Neglect. Abused and neglected children are ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Understanding Child Abuse

Understanding Child Abuse Neglect
  • Prepared by
  • The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension
    4-H Youth Development
  • Lisa Lauxman and Bob Peterson
  • Design Layout Teresa M. Noon

The University of Arizona Extension Youth
Protection PolicyKey Points
  • Any youth participant in an Arizona Cooperative
    Extension educational program is entitled to a
    safe environment.
  • Employees and volunteers are entitled to
    information related to the laws pertaining to
    child abuse and neglect and sexual offenses.
  • Employees and volunteers will receive training in
    order to take steps to ensure that neither they
    nor children are in situations that place them at
    risk under various Arizona Statues related to
    child and sexual abuse.
  • The Child Protection Act of 1993 requires States
    to enact legislations requiring background checks
    of all employees and volunteers working with

The University of Arizona Extension Youth
Protection Policy
  • Arizona Revised Statues require any person who
    has reasonable cause to believe that a child is
    being abused or neglected may report to Child
    Protective Services (CPS).
  • The following persons are required by law to
    report Any physician, hospital intern or
    resident, surgeon, dentist, osteopath,
    chiropractors, podiatrist, county medical
    examiner, nurse, psychologist, school personnel,
    social worker, peace officer, parent, counselor
    or any other person having responsibility for the
    care and treatment of children.
  • A person making a report or providing information
    about a child is immune from civil or criminal
    liability unless such person has been charged
    with, or is suspected of, the abuse or neglect in

The Effects of Abuse
  • The long-term affects of child abuse or neglect
    can be devastating. They can include substance
    abuse, psychological problems, and suicide.
    Reporting suspected abuse or neglect can help to
    stop the destructive process and start the
    healing process.
  • Any mandatory reporter who suspects that a child
    is suffering from any type of abuse or neglect,
    is legally required to report that suspicion to
    appropriate authorities.

Note of Caution
  • Research shows that there are a number of
    symptoms exhibited by children that may indicate
    abuse or neglect.
  • The presence of a single indicator does not
    automatically mean that abuse or neglect has
    occurred. However, it does warrant your

What is Child Abuse?
  • Is rarely a single physical attack, but rather a
    pattern of abuse that repeats over time.
  • Occurs when a parent or other person willfully
    or maliciously injures or causes a child to be
    injured, tortured or maimed, or when unreasonable
    force is used upon a child.
  • Abuse and neglect can be physical, emotional
    and sexual.

Characteristics of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Abused and neglected children are found in
    families at all...
  • Economic levels
  • Racial and ethnic backgrounds
  • Geographic locations.
  • People are more likely to behave in ways that
    can hurt children or lead to child abuse and
    neglect when they neglect to take good care of

Risk factors leading to abuse
  • The stress of poverty or unemployment
  • A lack of social support to help parents do a
    good job of parenting
  • Conflict and/or violence between spouses
  • A child (or children) who has special needs, is
    hard to comfort of challenging to rear
  • Abuse alcohol or other substances
  • Are highly vulnerable to the stress of caring for
  • Have low self-esteem and feel isolated
  • Use more physical punishment than positive

Physical abuse
  • Definition
  • is any non-accidental injury to a child under the
    age of 18 by a parent or caretaker.
  • Non-accidental injuries
  • beatings, shaking, burns, human bites,
    strangulation or immersion in scalding water,
    with resulting bruises and welts, broken bones,
    scars or internal injuries
  • Physical Indicators
  • Unexplained fractures/dislocations
  • Unexplained bruises and welts
  • Unexplained burns
  • Other unexplained injuries may include
    lacerations, abrasions, human bite marks or pinch
    marks, loss of hair or bald patches, retinal
    hemorrhage, or abdominal injuries

Physical AbuseBehavioral Indicators
  • Requests or feels deserving of punishment
  • Afraid to go home and/or requests to stay in
    school, day care, etc.
  • Overly shy, tends to avoid physical contacts with
    adults, especially parents.
  • Displays behavioral extremes (withdrawal or
  • Suggests that other children should be punished
    in a harsh manner
  • Cries excessively and/or sits and stares.
  • Reports injury by parents
  • Gives unbelievable explanations for injuries.

What is Emotional Abuse?Two Levels
  • Emotional Neglect
  • Emotional neglect is the consistent failure of a
    parent or caretaker to provide a child with
    appropriate support, attention and affection.
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Emotional abuse is the chronic pattern of
    behaviors, such as belittling, humiliating and
    ridiculing a child.

Emotional AbusePhysical Behavioral Indicators
  • Eating disorder
  • Sleep disturbances, nightmares
  • Speech disorders, stuttering
  • Failure to thrive
  • Developmental lags
  • Asthma, severe allergies or ulcers
  • Habit disorders, such as biting, rocking,
    head-banging, thumb-sucking in an older child
  • Poor peer relationships
  • Behavioral extremes, overly compliant or
    demanding, withdrawn or aggressive
  • Self-destructive behavior, remaining oblivious to
    hazards and risks
  • Chronic academic underachievement

What is Child Neglect?
  • Neglect is the chronic failure of a parent or
    caretaker to provide a child under 18 with
    adequate food, clothing, medical care, protection
    and supervision.

Child NeglectPhysical Behavioral Indicators
  • Height and weight significantly below age levels
  • Inappropriate clothing for weather
  • Child abandoned or left with inadequate
  • Untreated illness or injury
  • Lack of safe, sanitary shelter
  • Lack of necessary medical and dental care
  • Begging or stealing food
  • Falling asleep in school, lethargic
  • Poor school attendance, frequent tardiness
  • Chronic hunger
  • Dull, apathetic appearance
  • Running away from home
  • Repeated acts of vandalism
  • Reports no caretakers in the home
  • Assumes adult responsibilities

What is Child Sexual Abuse?
  • Child sexual abuse is the exploitation of a child
    or adolescent for the sexual gratification of
    another person. It includes behaviors such as
    intercourse, sodomy, oral-genital stimulation,
    verbal stimulation, exhibitionism, voyeurism,
    fondling, and involving a child in prostitution
    or the production or pornography.
  • Incest is sexual abuse that occurs within a
    family. The abuses may be a parent, step-parent,
    grandparent, sibling, cousin or other family

Child Sexual AbusePhysical Indicators
  • Somatic complaints, including pain and irritation
    of the genitals
  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Pregnancy in young adolescents
  • Frequent unexplained sore throats, yeast, or
    urinary tract infections
  • Behavioral Indicators
  • Excessive masturbation in young children
  • Sexual knowledge or behavior beyond that expected
    for the childs developmental level
  • Depression, suicidal gestures
  • Chronic running away
  • Frequent psychosomatic complaints, such as
    headaches, backaches, or stomachaches
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Avoidance of undressing or wearing extra layers
    of clothes
  • Sudden avoidance of certain familiar adults or
  • Decline in school performance

The Characteristics of Child Sexual Abuses
  • More non-biological care takers ( like step or
    adoptive parents, baby-sitters, boyfriends or
    girlfriends) sexually abuse than do birth parents
    or relatives
  • More males than females sexually abuse
  • Children are sexually abused more often by people
    they know than by strangers

Responding To A Disclosure
  • It is important to respond in a calm, supportive
    and appropriate manner. Build trust and insure
  • Children will find it difficult to tell someone
    about abuse or neglect that is occurring to them.
    Many times children will wait a long time before
  • If the person reacts with disgust or doesnt
    believe them, they will stop disclosing the

How to Respond
  • Be on the same eye level as the child be tactful
    and have no barriers between you and the child
  • Assess the childs safety needs and the urgency
    of the situation
  • Find out what the child wants from you
  • Validate the childs feelings
  • Believe the child and be supportive
  • Assure the child that you care, you are still
    their friend and they are not to blame

How to Respond
  • Let the child know what you will do
  • Be calm, dont react with disgust, etc.
  • Tell the child you are glad that they told you
  • Tell the child you will try to get them some help
  • Tell the child you will have to tell someone
    whose job it is to help kids with these kinds of
  • Dont interrogate or interview the child
  • Do not project or assume anything let the child
    tell his own story leave out your own

How to Report
  • Follow this process to avoid further abuse to
    the child and to legally protect yourself
  • Document any incident or discussion that leads
    you to suspect the abuse.
  • Utilize form Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect
    Report and be sure to include the date, time,
    and description of the incident.
  • File the confidential report with your county
    office, where it will be placed in a locked

More on How To Report
  • Do not investigate it may jeopardize the childs
    safety as well as any legal action pending as a
    result of the abuse (Nelson and Clark, 1986).
  • Try to keep emotion out of it and give factual
    information about what you have observed or heard
  • Remember your goal is to help the child to be
    safe as well as be safe yourself.
  • Think clearly and objectively about making a
  • It is essential that concerns about child abuse
    or neglect be treated with strict
  • You may need to discuss your concerns with
    another person however, this can and should be
    done without using the family or individual
    names. Also, hold the conversation where other
    will not be able to hear your discussion.

Support in Reporting
  • Your Extension office is there to support you.
    An Extension faculty member will be present if
    you request support in reporting.
  • You must report if you have reason to believe
    that child abuse and/or neglect is occurring.
  • Verbal reports are acceptable.
  • Cooperative Extension keeps your written report
    to protect you and Cooperative Extension.

Behavioral Guidelines
  • Work cooperatively with youth, families, other
    volunteers, Cooperative Extension faculty and
    staff and others in a courteous, respectful
    manner demonstrating behaviors appropriate to a
    positive role model for youth. Any type of
    harassment or hazing cannot be tolerated. Keep
    the best interests of youth and families as a
  • Represent the University of Arizona Cooperative
    Extension 4-H Youth Development program with
    pride and dignity. Obey the laws of the
    locality, state, and nation.

More Behavioral Guidelines
  • Comply with equal opportunity and
    anti-discrimination laws. Make all reasonable
    effort to assure that 4-H Youth Development
    programs are accessible to youth without regard
    to race, color, national origin, sex, religion,
    sexual orientation or disability.
  • Recognize that verbal and/or physical abuse
    and/or neglect of youth is unacceptable in 4-H
    Youth Development programs refrain from physical
    or verbal abuse. Incidents of reported,
    suspected or observed abuse should be reported
    immediately to law enforcement or Child
    Protective Services.

More Behavioral Guidelines
  • Treat animals humanely and teach 4-H youth to
    provide appropriate animal care.
  • Operate motor vehicles (including machines or
    equipment) in a safe and reliable manner when
    working with 4-H youth, and only with a valid
    operator's license and the legally required
    insurance coverage
  • Abide by the same rules as the youth regarding
    no use of alcohol, tobacco products and drugs at
    a 4-H Youth Development function nor allow youth
    participants under supervision to do so.

Creating Safety Zones Protecting Yourself and
  • Responsible adults automatically limit their
    physical exchanges with children, showing respect
    for children and at the same time maintaining
    warm, healthy affectionate relationships.
  • Be aware of childrens personal boundaries and
    respect them.
  • Adults should avoid being alone with one child.
  • In group situations, it is advisable to always
    have at least two adults present.
  • Never hit or strike a childeven in play.

More Safety Zones
  • Help protect everyonehave the children use the
    buddy system--- they dont go anywhere without
    their buddy.
  • Hugs are okay if they are appropriate and if both
    people are comfortable with them. Take clues from
    body language of the child and simply ask Is it
    okay for me to hug you?
  • Encourage parents to join in your activities and
    to drop in when they can.
  • There is nothing magical nor mysterious about
    interacting with children the best thing to do
    is use common sense.

Scenario A
  • In an after school program, a 10 year old girl,
    Daphne, has chosen all sad pictures for her
    contributions to a group picture. She tells you
    that shes sad because her mom kicked her dad out
    of the house over the weekend and he wont be
    living with her any more. She also tells you that
    dad gave her three 100 bills and hell give her
    more if she comes and sees him on the weekends.
    He tells her not to tell her mom. Daphne also
    tells you she has to baby sit her twin five year
    old sisters. Her mom works as a waitress from 1
    PM till 1 PM. You can tell that the family has
    few resources based on the childrens clothing.
    Her sisters are also in the program and their
    behavior is that of 3 year olds not five year
    olds. Youve not met Daphnes parents, but can
    obtain info about them from the registration

Scenario B
  • You work with school age children in a summer
    recreational/educational program. A new child,
    Nathan, joins the program. He is 8 years old and
    dresses in winter clothing despite being summer.
    He has a very strong body odor. His hair is not
    combed and is unkempt. He seems to be a happy
    child but doesnt join in many activities. You
    notice him stuffing his pockets after the free
    breakfast. After 4 weeks of sporadic attendance,
    you dont see him for 3 weeks. Youve not met
    Nathans parents, but can obtain info about them
    ( address, phs, etc) from his registration

Scenario C
  • You are caring for a 2 year old, Nathan. He has
    round, crusty sores in between his fingers that
    you havent seen before. When you ask Nathan
    about them, he says Hurt. When you ask Nathans
    mother, she tells you that he caught his fingers
    in the door and they got
  • pinched.

Scenario D
  • You work with pre-schoolers and Presidents Day
    is a holiday when the center is closed. You post
    notes reminding parents two weeks before the
    holiday and have spoken with each of the parents
    to remind them. On the holiday, you stop by the
    center and find one of the 4 year old children,
    Sue, sitting by the door. Its nearly noon and
    Sue tells you that shes been there since morning
    and that Dad will pick her up before dinner time.

Scenario Responses
  • Professionals Comments
  • Need to check the facts in a discreet manner
    with a call to the mother. If true or not
    severely embellished, ask if she can find an
    alternative babysitting situation No child is
    to be left alone unsupervised under age 12
    thats the law. If mother cant improve
    situation via church, after school program,
    neighbors, then let her know you will have to
    MONEY...let CPS do that!
  • Professionals Comments
  • Start with a call to the family to check if the
    child is O.K. Let them know that other children
    are asking about him. DO NOT CHALLENGE. You
    dont have a relationship and there is not
    reason for him to come back. Then, call CPS and
    report neglect seems evident. This has
    probably been reported before.

Scenario Responses (cont.)
  • Professionals Comments
  • First, pinched fingers from doors dont get
    round sores between the fingers. May be a burn
    from something. Child could be hurting self by
    rubbing fingers. Check with staff to see if any
    previous sores or injuries have been noted
    that appeared questionable. Call CPS. Child
    care workers must report suspicious injuries,
  • Professionals Comments
  • Call the police... that situation could be
    classified as abandonment as well as neglect. DO
    NOT TAKE HER HOME WITH YOU. You can call parents
    at work to let them know you have contacted the
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