Types and Facts of Child Abuse

7 Types of Abuse and Neglect

Emotional Abuse
Mental or emotional injury to a child that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning. It is causing or permitting the child to be in a situation in which the child sustains a mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning.

Physical Abuse
Physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given. This excludes an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm. It is also the failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another person that results in physical injury and substantial harm to the child.

Sexual Abuse
Sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or sexual conduct, as those terms are defined by law, including: sexual penetration with a foreign object, incest, sexual assault, sodomy inflicted on, shown to, or intentionally practiced in the presence of a child to arouse or gratify the sexual desires of any person. It is also the failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or sexual conduct, as those terms are defined by law and as they are described above. This includes compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct as defined by law.

Leaving a child in a situation exposing him / her to substantial risk of harm, without arranging for necessary care for the child, when there is a demonstrated intent not to return by the parent, guardian, or managing or possessor conservator of the child.

Neglectful Supervision
Placing the child in or failure to remove the child from a situation that a reasonable person would realize requires judgment or actions beyond the child’s level of maturity, physical condition, or mental abilities and that results in bodily injury or substantial risk of immediate harm to the child.

Medical Neglect
The failure to seek, obtain, or follow through with medical care for the child, with the failure resulting in or presenting a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or bodily injury or with the failure resulting in an observable and material impairment to the growth, development, or functioning of the child.

Physical Neglect
The failure to provide the child with food, clothing, or shelter necessary to sustain the life or health of the child, excluding failure caused primarily by financial inability unless relief services had been offered and refused.

The Myths and Facts of Incest

MYTH: Children are usually molested by strangers.
FACT: 85% if children are molested by someone they know. The people most likely to molest children are those who have the most opportunity and access to them.

MYTH: Incest only happens in lower class and/or rural families.
FACT: Incest plays no favorites. Incest crosses all socio-economic, race, and class barriers. It happens in both rural and urban centers.

MYTH: Only young girls are the victims of child abuse or incest.
FACT: Young boys are as vulnerable to sexual exploitation as are girls. Though reported cases indicate a higher percentage of girls, this can be attributed to the idea that males are expected to take care of themselves and, as a result, often do not deal with the problem by talking about it.

MYTH: It is only homosexuals who abuse children of their own sex.
FACT: Abuse is a crime of control, not sex. Victims are chosen because of easy access, not because of gender. Statistics show abuse of male children by males is most often perpetrated by heterosexual men or by pedophiles, rarely homosexuals.

MYTH: Child sexual abuse is a family problem, not a concern for outsiders.
FACT: We all pay the social price. 70% of runaway girls and boys, 70% of adolescent drug addicts and 90% of young prostitutes were victims of sexual abuse.

MYTH: The crisis of disclosure is more devastating than the abuse itself.
FACT: Disclosure brings the pain and suffering out into the open; it does not create it. Working with the victims who did not disclose or who were not believed reveals the burden and devastation the child bears alone. Only disclosure will end the abuse and make the healing possible.

MYTH: Children lie about incest.
FACT: Children do not have the cognitive capabilities to talk about incest unless they’ve experienced it. If children lie about sexual abuse, it is often to say that it did not occur to protect the offender and/or the family unit.

Child Sexual Assault: Other Facts

Approximately 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. Persons with developmental disabilities are sexually assaulted more frequently by a factor estimated between 4 and 10.

The average victim of child abuse is between 8 and 11 years old. Some experts suggest that the most vulnerable child is between the ages of 6 and 10, and living in a two-parent home. Some experts estimate that 5 or 6 children in a typical classroom of thirty have been affected by sexual abuse, regardless of geographic area, race, or socioeconomic class.

Approximately 90% of offenders are known to the child/ren. In addition, a child is 3 times more likely to be molested by a recognized, trusted adult than by a stranger. 50% of child victims are molested in their own homes or in the offender’s home.
One recent study in Oregon found that more than 80% of known rapists were abused as children. The offender that rapes and is incarcerated has had an average of 76 victims during his lifetime.

Perpetrators of sexual abuse are compulsive and repetitive in their offending behavior. The average pedophile will have an average of 244 victims in his lifetime. Forty-two percent of pedophiles begin their sexual abusive behaviors before the age of 12. Seventy-five percent of all perpetrators begin offending before the age of 13.

Some experts say that incestuous parents often love their children. However, those parents put their sexual intimacy needs before those of the children. Sometimes this is due to a crisis in their lives or because boundaries get confused or unclear. The average length of an incestuous relationship is three years; it is rarely a one-time occurrence.

Child Sexual Assault: The Perpetrator

Offenders are not usually strangers to children. According to the National Clearinghouse, approximately 90% of offenders are known to the child/ren. In addition, a child is 3 times more likely to be molested by a recognized, trusted adult than by a stranger. 50% of child victims are molested in their own homes or in the offenders home.

29% of offenders are relatives; 60% are acquaintances; and only 11% are strangers. It has been calculated that the chances of getting caught for child molestation are approximately 3%. Fewer than 1% of offenders are arrested, convicted and imprisoned.

Studies recently found that 80% of incestuous fathers in a sex offender treatment program were sexually abused as children, but did not report the abuse. 49% of incest offenders who molest girls within the family, molest girls outside the family as well. Of those incest offenders who molest boys within the family, 61% molest females outside the family and 68% molest boys outside the family.

Domestic Violence Myths and Facts:

Myth: Domestic violence is a “loss of control.”

Fact: Violent behavior is a choice. Perpetrators use it to control their victims. Domestic violence is about batterers using their control, not losing their control. Their actions are very deliberate.

Myth: The victim is responsible for the violence because she provokes it.
Fact: No one asks to be abused. And no one deserves to be abused regardless of what they say or do.

Myth: If the victim didn’t like it she would leave.

Fact: Victims do not like the abuse. They stay in the relationship for many reasons, including fear. Most do eventually leave.

Myth: Domestic violence only occurs in a small percentage of relationships.

Fact: Estimates report that domestic violence occurs in one fourth to one third of all intimate relationships. This applies to heterosexual as well as same-sex relationships.

Myth: Middle and upper class women do not get battered as frequently as poor women.

Fact: Domestic violence occurs in all socio-economical levels. Because women with money usually have more access to resources, poorer women tend to utilize community agencies, and there-fore are more visible.

Myth: Batterers are violent in all their relationships.

Fact: Batterers choose to be violent toward their partners in ways they would never consider treating other people.

Myth: Alcohol/Drugs cause battering behavior.

Fact: Although many abusive partners also abuse alcohol and/or drugs, this is not the underlying cause of the battering. Many batterers use alcohol/drugs as an excuse to explain their violence.

Myth: Once a battered woman, always a battered woman.

Fact: While some battered women have been in more than one abusive relationship, women who receive domestic violence services are the least likely to enter another abusive relationship.


Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next. Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults. 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household. *

Economic Impact
The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services. *
* Excerpts from National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Bullying – Recognizing it….

There are many warning signs that could indicate that someone is involved in bullying, either by bullying others or by being bullied. However, these warning signs may indicate other issues or problems, as well. If you are a parent or educator, learn more about talking to someone about bullying.
Being Bullied
Comes home with damaged or missing clothing or other belongings
Reports losing items such as books, electronics, clothing, or jewelry
Has unexplained injuries
Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or feeling sick
Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
Has changes in eating habits
Hurts themselves
Are very hungry after school from not eating their lunch
Runs away from home
Loses interest in visiting or talking with friends
Is afraid of going to school or other activities with peers
Loses interest in school work or begins to do poorly in school
Appears sad, moody, angry, anxious or depressed when they come home
Talks about suicide
Feels helpless
Often feels like they are not good enough
Blames themselves for their problems
Suddenly has fewer friends
Avoids certain places
Acts differently than usual
Bullying Others
Becomes violent with others
Gets into physical or verbal fights with others
Gets sent to the principal’s office or detention a lot
Has extra money or new belongings that cannot be explained
Is quick to blame others
Will not accept responsibility for their actions
Has friends who bully others
Needs to win or be best at everything

If you are a parent or guardian, talk to the school administration or the adult that supervises your child’s community activities.
What to Do When Bullying Continues or Gets Worse
If the bullying gets worse and you need additional help, consider the following if:
Someone is at immediate risk of harm because of bullying Call the police 911
Your child is feeling suicidal because of bullying Contact the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Your child’s teacher is not keeping your child safe from being bullied Contact local school administrator (principal or superintendent)
Your school is not keeping your child safe from being bullied Contact the State School Department
Your child is sick, stressed, not sleeping, or is having other problems because of bullying Contact your counselor or other health professional Exit Disclaimer
Your child is bullied because of their race, ethnicity, or disability and local help is not working to solve the problem Contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Office on Civil RightsSource: stopbullying.gov