What is child abuse and how to detect it

child abuse
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What is child abuse and how to detect it

Child abuse occurs when a mother, father or any other adult causes physical or emotional harm to a child.

In general terms, child abuse can take several forms:

  • Physical abuse
    Sexual abuse.
  • Negligence and / or abandonment.
  • Emotional and / or psychological abuse

It is important that we know what each of the abuse is, in order to detect them in time or to report them immediately.

Physical abuse

When people think of child abuse, they immediately associate it with physical abuse with actions such as: hitting, kicking, hitting them hard, etc., but we have to make it clear that it is not just that.

Physical abuse also includes:

  • Hit him constantly in the head and express to him that he is a fool.
  • Intentionally burning a child with fire or boiling water
  • Throw an object against the child or use an object to hit him.
  • Starving a child or not providing food.


It is important that you observe this type of signs in a child:

  • Sudden change in behavior or performance at school.
  • Alert status, waiting for something bad to happen.
  • Misbehavior.
  • Not wanting to go back to the house where he is mistreated.
  • Fear when an adult approaches
    Do not sleep.
  • The drawings are elements where children can express themselves.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse occurs when a child is raped or forced to perform a sexual act. But it is also any type of sexual contact with a child or any behavior that is intended to excite the person who commits the abuse. Therefore, not only is sexual abuse considered sexual intercourse with a child, touching a child’s genitals or having the child touch the genitals of another person; Sexual abuse also means:

  • have a child pose or be involved in actions for pornographic photographs or videos
    tell jokes or stories with sexual connotation.
  • Show pornographic material to a child.
  • Forcing a child to undress
    “Expose” to a child or show his genitals.
  • Negligence
    Neglect is any action, or inaction, of the person in charge of caring for a child that causes physical or emotional harm to a child. For example, not providing food, heating, shelter (during the winter months) or adequate housing is considered an act of negligence. Basically, anything that interferes with the development and growth of the child is considered an act of negligence.
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This also includes:

  • Do not provide medical care when the child is injured or ill.
  • Lock a child in a room.
  • Placing a child in a dangerous situation where he or she can be physically injured or killed.
  • Abandonment is a type of negligence. This occurs when a child is left alone for a prolonged period of time or when he or she suffers serious harm because no one was caring for him or her.

Emotional abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse is a pattern of behavior that has a negative effect on the child’s emotional development and self-esteem. Ignoring the child or not showing feelings of love, support or guidance is considered emotional abuse. It is also constantly threatening, frightening, denigrating or criticizing a child.

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Substance abuse

The use of alcohol, tobacco or prohibited drugs can impede the good judgment of the person in charge of the care of the child and as a consequence, endanger the child or commit an act of negligence or physical abuse.

Profile of the person who commits an abuse

The reality is that the person who abuses children comes from different social, cultural and economic conditions. They can be parents, other family members, teachers, coaches and friends of the family. Practically, anyone who has access to a child can mistreat it.

Warning signs that an adult may be abusing or abusing a child:

This drawing shows the face of the person who mistreat the child, evidencing the disfigured face of the aggressor, as well as the words he used with the child to physically and emotionally attack her.

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In the face of the man the evil look is noticed and the drawing describes how the child who was being abused sees it. It shows two faces, experts indicate that it was how he behaved towards others and how he transformed when he was alone with the child.

In addition, these details must be taken into account:

  1. They treat children with disparagement.
  2. They have strange behaviors with children and with the couple.
  3. The sexual theme is quite interesting to touch.
  4. They do not like to talk about the strange behaviors of children, to avoid falling into suspicion.
  5. They lie constantly.
    Create excessive control in children so they do not talk to anyone else to avoid being discovered.
  6. These people have sometimes been abused, or come from families of abusers and is a pattern of behavior.
  7. Can not explain or give rare explanations for the child’s injuries
  8. Talk about the child in a negative way.
  9. Use strong discipline.
  10. Have alcohol or drug problems.
  11. Have emotional problems or mental illness.
  12. Maintains a lot of stress.
  13. Does not care about the care or hygiene of the child.
  14. Does not seem to love the child or worry about him / her

How to help a child facing abuse

If the child complained about been abused, listen to him and take him seriously. Children rarely invent stories of sexual abuse.
Do not press him to speak, but he will do it in his moment. Support the child by avoiding gestures, questions or judgments that make him feel even more anguished or guilty
If the child decides to speak, encourage him / her and show him / her confidence to tell the truth and speak freely.
Do not judge him, or make him feel guilty.
Request support from a specialist to help the child and also the family in the way that the problem should be treated.
Prepare the child for that help. Explain that you will have to talk to other people about what happened. And that everything will be very good for him.
The person who sexually abused the child must be reported to the authorities.

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