What is Child Abuse? Minimize

What is Child Abuse?

There are four major types of child abuse and/or maltreatment. 

They are: 

Physical Abuse
Sexual Abuse
Emotional Abuse
Physical Abuse is anything a parent or caregiver does that results in physical harm to the child, or creates a genuine risk of harm to the child. Physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) can result from punching, beating, shaking, kicking, biting, throwing, stabbing, hitting, burning, choking, or otherwise harming a child. Such injury is considered abuse regardless of whether the caretaker intended to hurt the child. This would include hitting with objects such as a belt or wooden spoon, throwing objects and hitting in the head or face.
Suspect Physical Abuse When You See:  
  • Frequent injuries such as bruises, cuts, black eyes, or burns without adequate explanations
  • Frequent complaints of pain without obvious injury
  • Burns or bruises in unusual patterns that may indicate the use of an instrument or human bite; cigarette burns on any part of the body
  • Lack of reaction to pain
  • Aggressive, disruptive, and destructive behaviour
  • Passive, withdrawn, and emotionless behaviour
  • Fear of going home or seeing parents
  • Injuries that appear after a child has not been seen for several days
  • Unreasonable clothing that may hide injuries to arms or legs
Neglect is failure to provide for a child’s basic needs necessary to sustain the life or health of the child, excluding failure caused primarily by financial inability unless relief services have been offered and refused. Basic needs include the following: food, shelter, appropriate clothing for the weather, medical, dental, and mental health care, educational needs and supervision by an appropriate caregiver.
Suspect Neglect When You See:
  • Obvious malnourishment
  • Lack of personal cleanliness
  • Torn or dirty clothing
  • Stealing or begging for food
  • Child unattended for long periods of time
  • Need for glasses, dental care, or other medical attention
  • Frequent tardiness or absence from school

Sexual Abuse occurs when an adult engages a child in (or exposes a child to) any from of sexual activity. Children are not capable of giving informed consent under any circumstances. This would include indecent exposure, exposing a child to pornography, fondling a child’s genitals, penetration, incest, rape, sodomy and exploitation through prostitution or producing pornographic materials.

Suspect Sexual Abuse When You See:  
  • Physical signs of sexually transmitted diseases
  • Evidence of injury to the genital area
  • Pregnancy in young girl
  • Difficulty in sitting or walking
  • Extreme fear of being alone with adults of a certain sex
  • Sexual comments, behaviours or play
  • Knowledge of sexual relations beyond what is expected for a child’s age
  • Sexual victimization of other children
Emotional Abuse is mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment in a child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning. Emotionally abusive behaviour includes: constant rejecting, criticizing, terrorizing, corrupting, instilling fear or exposure to violence. It also includes extreme forms of punishment such as confining a child in a dark closet, habitual scapegoating, belittling, and rejecting treatment for a child.

Suspect Emotional Abuse When You See:  
  • Over compliance
  • Low self-esteem
  • Severe depression, anxiety, or aggression
  • Difficulty making friends or doing things with other children
  • Lagging in physical, emotional and intellectual development
  • Caregiver who belittles the child, withholds love, and seems unconcerned about the child’s problems

If you have reasonable grounds to suspect child abuse, it is your duty to report it to the local Children’s Aid Society.    
No one can do it on your behalf.  

You do not have to verify your concerns, simply to report them. 

If you have grounds to suspect that the abuse is ongoing, keep reporting.

In Windsor-Essex County call (519) 252-1171 or (800) 265-5609 for more information.

Click here to download pamphlet on reporting suspected child abuse and neglect

Child Abuse Prevention Committee of the Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society
1671 Riverside Dr. E. Windsor, Ontario, N8Y 5B5 Tel: (519)-252-1171 ext. 3200 Fax: (519)-971-0339
Registered Charitable Number: 11910 9692 RR0001
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