Is a Child That You Know Being Abused or Neglected?

There can be no doubt that child abuse and neglect are truly terrible things. It is difficult to think of things that are more appalling to us than the abuse of a child – after all, children have no power do to anything about the abuse that they experience and should be looking to adults for love and care rather than anything else. We think of child neglect in very bad terms, and all right-thinking people consider it to be truly heinous and unforgivable. But sometimes we are guilty of thinking of child abuse in only the most egregious examples which can lead us to only think of abuse in black and white terms.


This is apparent that many of us, when considering child abuse, only think about the cliché of the child ‘walking into a door’ or the evil step-father hitting the child when the mother is absent. While these are obviously very serious issues they put us in danger of missing some other important, but perhaps less visually obvious child neglect issues. Indeed other forms of abuse such as serious neglect or emotional abuse can leave deep problems for the child that is just as problematic as physical attacks.


It’s true that abuse of a child is a very horrible thing, and while we can work hard to eradicate child abuse as much as we can, there will always be those who will slip through the net and we will see instances of child abuse. This will happen no matter how hard we try to prevent the situation from occurring. So the important thing to think about is how we can stop it occurring once it has started. This can obviously be a very difficult thing to do – but the sooner that we notice abuse happening and the sooner that we put a stop to it, the more benefit will be seen for the child, and surely at the end of the day that is the most important thing.


Unfortunately, there are a number of myths flying around that can make it more difficult for us to recognise that child abuse is happening. That’s because these myths make it seem that child abuse can’t possibly happen or would be very unlikely in the situations that we live. One myth is that it only counts as abuse if it’s violent. This clearly is not the case as we have already pointed out – abuse can be anything from name calling, sexual humiliation or almost anything mentally damages the child.


Another common myth is that only bad people abuse their children. Remember that with issues like bringing up children, it can be true that some parents don’t know any different and might believe that their behaviour is acceptable when it is not. It’s also thought that child abuse only occurs at the hands of strangers, when clearly much child abuse happens within the home and at the hands of otherwise loving parents.


Some people would also contend that abused children will always grow up to be abusers. It is important to note that this is not true either. It has been well documented that if a child is abused and they never receive any treatment or counselling for it, they may be more likely to abuse their children when they have them, but this is not always the case. Indeed, many abused children feel far more protective of their own children because they know how awful it was to experience it when they were young. It is time that we face up to these myths and expose them.

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