Pictures of Victims


 


  Domestic violence leaves a mark on the whole family.

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     April is Child Abuse Prevention Month    

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What is child sexual abuse?  Child sexual abuse is any sexual act between an adult and a minor or between two minors when one exerts power over the other.  When an adult or an older child forces another child to engage in any type of sexual conduct or contact, it is sexual abuse.  Sexual abuse can be a one time event, or it can happen repeatedly over months or years.  1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthdays.  Child abuse and child sexual abuse are a community problem. (Stewards of Children, 2007)

There are other forms of child abuse.  Children who witness violence is a form of abuse that can have a lasting effect on children.  Childhood exposure to violence has a devastating impact on a child’s: development, emotional growth, cognitive development, physical health and school performance.
(NCCEV, 2006; http://www.mincava.umn.edu)

Children are exposed to violence in most areas of their lives, such as:
  • Violence on television
  • Violence in video games
  • Violence in music
What is most traumatic for children, however, is for them to witness violence within their homes by their parents and/or caregivers.

It is important to discuss with children who witness violence because they are deeply affected by the violence they have seen. (Massachusetts Medical Society, 2000)

There are many signs that a child may have witnessed or be experiencing abuse in their lives.  These signs are different based on the age of the child.  Some examples are:

Infants (birth to one year)
  • May be fussy
  • May develop sleeping problems
  • May have disruptions in eating
  • May fail to develop attachments to key caregivers
  • May be lethargic and unresponsive
  • May suffer from failure to thrive
Toddlers (1-3 years old)
  • May develop problems sleeping, including nightmares
  • May show disruption in normal eating patterns
  • May have increased tantrums
  • May wet him/herself
  • May show increased clinging to caretaker
  • May withdraw
Pre-school Children (3-5 years old)
  • May have problems sleeping
  • May display irritability and frustration
  • May display a defiant attitude
  • May have increased tantrums
  • May show disruption in normal eating patterns
  • May have difficulty separating from caretaker
School-age Children (6-11 years old)
  • May show anxiety and aggression
  • May be preoccupied with details of traumatic events
  • May have difficulties at school, which could include getting along with others and inability to do well on homework assignments
  • May have problems with attention and hyperactivity
Adolescents (12 years and older)
  • May have difficulties with making or keeping friends
  • May have feelings of hopelessness
  • May have difficulties concentrating, learning and behaving at school
  • May become fearful or moody
  • May show anxiety and aggression towards peers
  • May run away
  • May become involved with drugs and/or alcohol
Children exposed to violence have been linked with significant:
  • Increased depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Decreased academic achievement
  • More at risk to repeat their experience as an adult as either the victim or perpetrator of violence in their own intimate relationships
    (NCCEV, 2007)
There is hope…
  • Children who witness domestic violence and receive counseling and treatment are less likely to become abusers or have other violence-related problems when they grow up.
  • Not all children who witness violence will develop the symptoms discussed above.  However, as a society we should strive to eliminate exposing our children to violence in our homes, on television, in our schools, on our school buses and in our communities at large.
  • Children need to be taught in the home that violence is unacceptable.
  • Children should also be able to talk with an adult that they trust about abuse that they have experienced or witnessed.
Children need to be taught in the home that violence is unacceptable. Children should also be able to talk with an adult they trust about abuse they have experienced or witnessed. 

Resilience
Although some children will find themselves as adults trapped in the cycle of abuse, many child survivors will grow up to lead healthy lives.  The critical factor is resilience.  Resilience is the ability of a person no matter what age, to be confident and positive even after experiencing trauma and pain.  It is the ability to get up after a fall and to go forward in life with hope and confidence. 
(
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Press Release, 10/08/03)

Statistics
  • Child abuse and neglect affects over 1 million children every year. Child abuse and neglect costs our nation $220 million every day. For investigations, foster care, medical and mental health treatment. And later for special education, juvenile and adult crime, chronic health problems, and other costs across the life span. We will pay a staggering $80 billion to address child abuse and neglect in 2012. (Gelles, Richard J., & Perlman, Staci (2012). Estimated Annual Cost of Child Abuse and Neglect. Chicago IL: Prevent Child Abuse America.)
  • 51 children were killed by their babysitter in 2008. (Washington, DC: GPO, 2009)
  • The youngest children from birth to 3 years of age had the highest rate of abuse and neglect and accounted for the largest percentage of child victims at 32 percent. (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, 2009)
  • Just under one-half (46 percent) of all child victims were White, 22 percent were African American, and 21 percent were Hispanic.  African American children, American Indian or Alaska Native children, and children of multiple races had the highest rates of victimization. (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, 2009)
  • 8% of child abuse victims had a reported disability. (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, 2009)
  • 57% of children will victims of some form of physical assault during their lifetime, 51 percent will be victims of bullying (emotional or physical) or teasing, and 10 percent of children will be victims of assault with a weapon. (David Finkelhor, “Violence, Abuse, and Crime Exposure in a national Sample of Children and Youth,” 3. 2009)
  • In 2007, approximately 1,760 children died due to child abuse or neglect.  More than three-quarters (76 percent) of children who were killed were younger than 4 years of age. (David Finkelhor, “Violence, Abuse, and Crime Exposure in a national Sample of Children and Youth,” 3. 2009)
  • The most significant predictor of whether a battered woman will physically abuse her child is having been physically abused by her own mother, not whether she has been battered by her partner. (Journal of Interpersonal Violence 19, no. 8 (August 2004): 943-52)
Resources
For additional information:

OVC
OVC Directory of Crime Victim Services, an Online Resource.

Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services   |  1970 W. Broad St.  |  Columbus, OH 43223   |  614-466-7782 |  www.ocjs.ohio.gov
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