Understanding Child Maltreatment | Child Abuse Prevention Month

April 6, 2011

Programs and Services

What is child maltreatment, or child abuse? This overview from the CDC gives a great general description of what constitutes abuse and neglect. In summary:

Child maltreatment includes all types of abuse and neglect of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caregiver, or another person in a custodial role (e.g., clergy, coach, teacher). There are four common types of abuse.

• Physical abuse is the use of physical force, such as hitting, kicking, shaking, burning or other show of force against a child.

• Sexual abuse involves engaging a child in sexual acts. It includes fondling, rape, and exposing a child to other sexual activities.

• Emotional abuse refers to behaviors that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being. Examples include name calling, shaming, rejection, withholding love, and threatening.

• Neglect is the failure to meet a child’s basic needs. These needs include housing, food, clothing, education, and access to medical care.

If you see any of these items happening in a family, please contact the authorities or Family Resource Center at 314.534.9350. You could save the life of a child.