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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ugoh

Frequently Asked Questions about Child Abuse

Frequently Asked Questions about Child Abuse
Frequently Asked Questions about Child Abuse

Child abuse is a major topic of discussion worldwide. In a quest to keep children safe from harm, including sexual exploitation and emotional damage, protecting children from any form of child abuse has become very important. Indeed every parent and caregiver needs to take this seriously, as the effects of child abuse can follow a victim to adulthood. Child sexual abuse is regarded as a risk factor for domestic minor sex trafficking.

In this article, we’ll focus on answering some of the most frequently asked questions about child abuse, including facts that you may previously not be aware of.

What is child abuse?

Child abuse is any form of maltreatment directed at a child below the age of 18, by an adult, which is violent or threatening to the child. This includes physical assault and neglect. This means that if a parent or caregiver can no longer care for a child in their custody, it is regarded as abuse.

Who abuses a child?

Children typically suffer abuse at the hands of their parents and just about any other adult that subjects them to any form of mistreatment. This can be a coach, teacher, religious leader, close family relative, caregiver, or anyone acting with authority in the child’s life.

How does child abuse happen?

Child abuse occurs in many different ways. You can tell that child abuse has happened when you see a child deprived of care, maltreated physically, or verbally assaulted. In most cases, the victim withdraws from family and peers and becomes unsociable.

What are the forms of child abuse?

Physical abuse

In the case of physical abuse, we are talking about acts of violence that inflict bodily pain on the child. This includes hitting, slapping, pinching, poisoning, suffocating, etc. In some states and countries, subjecting a child to corporal punishment is also a form of child abuse.

Emotional abuse

Emotional or physiological abuse is another dangerous form of abuse that anyone can ever face. When an adult verbally attacks a child or makes them feel inadequate, unloved, or worthless in any way, it is regarded as emotional abuse.

This form of abuse is so powerful because it could lead to mental health issues. Shouting or yelling at, silent treatment, insulting, mocking, degrading, or threatening a child are some ways people emotionally abuse children.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse occurs when a child is forced or coerced to participate in sexual activities. Sexual abuse also includes flashing yourself in a sexually provocative way to a minor, inappropriately touching the child, raping, watching the child undress, or asking a child to participate in transactional sex.

Keep in mind that there is no such thing as child prostitution. What may be seen as child prostitution is actually child abuse. Even getting aroused by looking at a child's body is regarded as sexual abuse.


Child abuse also occurs when a parent or caregiver denies a child the care, provision, or support they need. Neglect can be physical or emotional. When food, money, provision, support, housing, comfort, clothing, education, and other essential needs are denied a child, it is a form of abuse.

What can I do when I notice a child being abused?

Speaking up on behalf of an abuser child can help save that child from horrors you can’t even imagine. You may be hesitant to get yourself involved since you don’t know the whole story. In that case, you can report anonymously.

You can either call the police or special authorities handling child abuse cases; you can contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. They might redirect you to local resources, such as child protective services. If you notice a child sex trafficking situation, you can contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

What are the signs of child abuse?

Here are some signs of child abuse or neglect:

  • changes in behavior, such as withdrawal from social activities, hostility, hyperactivity, anger, or aggression

  • attempting to run away or leaving the home

  • skipping school or poor grades(many things can lead to too or grades)

  • withdrawal from friends, family, or usual activities

  • self-harm or attempted suicide

  • defiant behavior

Final thoughts

Children must be protected from harm at every point in time. Preventing child abuse is far better than dealing with child abuse. The damage is already done, and sometimes, the emotional or physical scar follows the child into adulthood.

In our next post, we’ll examine the effects of abuse on children in further detail, as well as how to help an abused child. To learn more about the Mission Haven, feel free to browse through our activities. To give, volunteer, or become a partner, please contact us today.


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