Types of Child Abuse Existing in our Society

Child abuse refers to the intended, unintended and perceived ill-treatment of the child, including any of the following:

  • Psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual and emotional maltreatment.
  • Any act, deed or word which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being.
  • Unreasonable deprivation of his/her basic needs for survival such as food and shelter; or failure to give timely medical treatment to an injured child resulting in serious impairment of his/her growth and development or his/her permanent inability or death.

There are many forms of child abuse and they vary according to cultural and geographical settings. The most prominent forms of child abuse are:

  • Physical abuse is inflicting physical injury upon a child. This may include hitting, slapping, kicking, beating or otherwise harming a child.
  • Sexual abuse is inappropriate sexual behavior with a child. It includes fondling a child’s genitals, making the child fondle an adult’s genitals, sexual assault (intercourse, incest, rape, and sodomy), exhibitionism and pornography. To be considered child abuse, these acts have to be committed by a person responsible for the care of a child or related to the child (for example, a baby-sitter, parent, neighbour, relatives, extended family member, peer, older child, friend, stranger, or a day-care provider).
  • Emotional abuse (also known as verbal abuse, mental abuse, and psychological maltreatment) includes acts or the failure to act by parents, caretakers, peers and others that have caused or could cause serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental distress/trauma.
  • Child neglect is an act of omission leading to the denial of child’s basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, emotional, or psychological. Physical neglect entails denial of food, clothing, appropriate medical care or supervision. It may also include abandonment. Educational neglect includes failure to provide appropriate schooling or special educational needs. Psychological neglect includes lack of emotional support and love.