Child Abuse is generally defined as any act or conduct that endangers or impairs a child’s physical or emotional health or development. Child Abuse includes any damage done to a child that cannot be reasonably explained and is often represented by an injury or series of injuries appearing to be intentional or deliberate in nature. Child Abuse includes physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Mental Abuse, Emotional Abuse, and Neglect (which is the failure to provide a minimum standard of care for a child’s physical and emotional needs).

Although Child Abuse may not always lead to serious physical injury, one should assume that all Child Abuse experience is harmful. Child Abuse is seldom a single event. Rather, it occurs with regularity, often increasing in violence. A Child Abuser is usually closely related to the Child, such as a parent, stepparent, or other caregiver. The Child Abuser is rarely a stranger. Child Abuse happens in every community, rural and urban throughout the Nation.  

The degree of harm a Child experiences as a result of Child Abuse depends on the nature of the Abuse, the age of the Child, and the Child’s environment. In homes in which Child Abuse occurs, fear, instability and confusion replace the love, comfort, and nurturing that Children need. Abused Children live in constant fear of physical harm from a person who is supposed to care for and protect them. They may feel guilt at loving the Abuser or blame themselves for causing the violence. Abused Children may experience stress-related physical ailments and hearing and speech problems. Child Abuse is often found in homes in which domestic violence occurs.

Children may be Abused and threatened as a way of punishing and controlling an adult victim of domestic violence. Sometimes, they may be injured unintentionally when acts of violence occur in their presence. Often, episodes of domestic violence expand to include attacks on Children. However, even when Children are not attacked directly, they experience serious emotional damage as a result of living in a violent household. Children who live in abusive environments believe that abusive behavior is acceptable, but it is not. Children from violent homes also have higher risks of alcohol or drug Abuse and juvenile delinquency.