Witnessing Child Abuse

Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, January 1, 2001 | Go to article overview

Witnessing Child Abuse


According to the National Children's Advocacy Center (NCAC), almost 3 million cases of suspected child abuse and neglect are reported each year; that is nearly I child every 10 seconds. A survey conducted by Children's Institute International (CII) found that about one-quarter of the U.S. population has witnessed child abuse, but only one-third of those people have reported the incident.

Child abuse can include physical, sexual, and psychological abuse and neglect. Often the perpetrators of child abuse are skilled at concealing the symptoms of abuse, while the child is often too embarrassed to ask for help or to reveal the symptoms of their horrible secret.

Other indicators of neglect could include lack of: supervision, adequate clothing, medical or dental care, proper hygiene, or adequate nutrition. Caretakers who neglect their children often lead chaotic lives, are apathetic, and have unrealistic expectations.

Children who are abused are usually subjected to more than one form of abuse. For example, a child who is physically abused may feel psychologically threatened. …

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