The second includes verbal and emotional assaults including persistent patterns of belittling, denigrating, scapegoating, and other nonphysical, but clearly hostile or rejecting behaviors, such as repeated threats of beatings, sexual assault, and abandonment. The third, residual, category includes other forms of emotional abuse such as attempted sexual or physical assaults; throwing something at a child but missing; withholding shelter, sleep, or other necessities as punishment, and economic exploitation (p.11).
According to Righthand, Kerr, and Drach (2003), psychological abuse can be technically defined as:
1. Verbal or emotional assault, exemplified by persistent patterns of belittling, denigrating, scapegoating, or other nonphysical but rejecting, hostile, and degrading behaviors.
2. Terrorizing the child, exemplified by threatening to physically hurt, kill, or abandon the child, or by exposing the child to chronic or extreme partner abuse or other forms of violent behaviors.
3. Exploiting or corrupting the child, exemplified by modeling criminal or antisocial behavior; encouraging and condoning delinquent behavior, substance abuse, or other maladaptive acts; or by promoting developmentally inappropriate behaviors.
4. Isolating the child, exemplified by placing unreasonable limits or restrictions on the child's developmental needs for peer and adult social interaction.
5. Other psychological abuses include withholding shelter, sleep, or other necessities as punishment; economic exploitation; attempted sexual or physical assaults; and intentionally disregarding the child's needs for love and affection and denying emotional responsiveness.
Neglect is another type of child abuse. Neglect is failing to care for the child's physical, emotional, and educational needs. Many parents and guardians have become neglectful with children these days. Children are feeling the consequences of this neglect, both physically and psychologically. Barnett and colleagues (1994) include failing to provide not only for the child's academic education but also for the child socially and morally. Neglected children may also experience more attachment and peer relationship difficulties, emotional, and behavioral problems, coping difficulties, and may have higher levels of psychopathology than children who are not maltreated. Neglected children often become listless and apathetic. As the children become more passive, they may provide fewer cues to their parents for engagement, which in leads to less stimulation and thus further neglect. The assessment of neglect often requires determining what is missing rather than what is occurring.
According to Barnett and colleagues (1994), physical neglect means failing to provide for a child's physical requirements, such as nutrition, health, medical, or cleanliness needs. Physical neglect includes the following actions or inactions (Righthand, Kerr, and Drach, 2003):
1. The failure to provide reasonable medical care that is recommended by health care professionals.
2. Failing to seek timely and appropriate medical services for serious health problems that would be recognizable as requiring medical attention by most laypersons.
3. Not attending to a child's needs for food, adequate clothing, hygiene, and immunizations.
4. Disregarding safety hazards.
5. Not adequately supervising the child as a result of drunkenness, drug abuse, or psychiatric disorders.
6. Leaving a child in the care of an inadequate "caregiver," such as someone with a history of child abuse, and failing to protect a child by permitting abusive people to have access to the child.
7. Abandoning a child or expelling a child from the home without arranging for reasonable care and supervision.
8. Repeatedly leaving a child with others for extended periods in a manner suggesting a dereliction of parental custodial responsibilities.
9. Leaving a child unsupervised.
On the other hand psychological neglect includes the following:
1. Inadequate nurturing and affection.
2. Not opposing a child's substance abuse.
3. Not opposing or permitting other problem behaviors such as assaultive behavior or chronic delinquency and, when aware of the problem, not attempting to intervene.
4. Failing to seek or provide needed treatment for a child's emotional or behavioral problems that would be recognizable as requiring professional attention by most laypersons, for example severe depression or a suicide attempt.
5. Failure to facilitate needed psychological treatment for a child's emotional or behavioral difficulties as reasonably recommended by a qualified professional.
6. Not attending to additional developmental and emotional needs not previously described such as by engaging in behaviors that foster immaturity or emotional overdependence, or by continuous, inappropriate expectations for the child's age or developmental level.
7. Failing to oppose or permitting chronic truancy.
8. Failing to enroll a child in school, causing a child to miss school excessively (at least one month), or causing or permitting a child to stay home for nonlegitimate reasons for an average for at least three days a month.
9. Failure to obtain recommended special education services or treatment for a child's diagnosed learning disorder or special education needs without reasonable cause.
When assessing physical or psychological neglect toward a child, parent's refusal of specific medical, psychological, or educational services may require careful evaluation. When such refusal occurs due to religious or cultural beliefs and in the context of an otherwise non-abusive or non-neglecting relationship, the act of refusal by itself may not constitute child neglect. The lists above are intended to provide and/or assist clinicians in becoming better at identifying and articulating behaviors that can and do cause harm to children, and to facilitate the clinician's abilities to identify causative factors and develop appropriate clinical interventions.
Perceived causes of child abuse can be the following, but are not limited to: Substance abuse, lack of child preservation, foster care abuse exposure, parental cohabitation, poverty, and parental history of abuse. According to Grapes (2001), parents who abuse drugs or alcohol are almost three times more likely to physically or sexually assault their children than are other parents (p.47). The rate of neglect for children for substance-abusing parents is more than four times the rate of neglect for children of non-substance abusing parents (Grapes, 2001).
Child preservation laws have put children at risk for abuse. Many abuse fatalities have been blamed as a result oversights by overworked, understaffed, and underfunded child protective agencies, whose workers let children to some extent slip through the cracks, as they say. Half of the 1,500 children of whom die each year as a result of abuse are already known to an agency (Grapes, 2001). These children are victims of a family preservation policy that consistently reunites vulnerable children with abusive parents who cannot be rehabilitated.
Foster care exposes children to abuse, many times. It may be thought that the child is very safe once taken out of an abusive home, but that may not always be the case. Research has shown that children in foster care are twice as likely to be abused as children who live with their natural parents.
Parental cohabitation is said to expose children to a greater risk of abuse. Many recent child abuse fatalities are the direct result of society's loosening of the taboo against cohabitation. Though other factors often contribute to a child's risk for being abused, studies have consistently shown that the presence of an unrelated man in the home greatly increases the chance that a child will be abused or assaulted (Grapes, 2001).
Poverty has been known to be a perceived cause of child abuse. The majority of incidents of child abuse that occur are of families from the lowest socioeconomic levels. Research has indicated that the problems of poverty, unemployment, substandard housing, insufficient money, food, and recreation cause the stressful situations that can precipitate child abuse and neglect.
Parental history of abuse is a major risk factor in child abuse. While not all parents who suffered abuse as children go on to abuse their own children, certain studies have found that as many as 67% of abused parents do mistreat their children (Grapes, 2001).
Child abuse may have many causes; however, what about the effects or consequences? Children who have been abused may experience some of the following, but are not limited to: Neurological, motor activity, and growth effects; learning and intelligence effects; language use effects, and school adjustment effects. Children may suffer head trauma and show evidence of a neurological dysfunction as a result of the abuse. Abused children have been found to show deficits in learning and intelligence, by some studies (Calam & Franchi, 1987). Some deficits in standard I.Q. tests have also resulted after the children's abuse.
The expressive language skills of abused children have often been found to be poor; however, environmental influences accompanying abuse are likely to be of major significance. Expressly, the caretaker who is not interested in the child is unlikely to spend a great deal of time talking to him or her, and therefore, there is inadequate input and practice for language skills for the child to be able to develop.
School adjustment is another issue that could be a serious consequence for the abused child. Successful adjustment in school involves a set of adjustment skills on the part of the child. Many times children who have…