It is hard to believe that a child can be intentionally hurt by an adult. But that’s a hard fact in today’s world. In most cases, the harm comes from close quarters that include the child’s own family. Worse still, is that parents often turn a blind eye to the common child abuse signs, largely because of the stigma attached to it and what neighbours and relatives would think.
According to a UNICEF report, more than 7,200 children including infants, are raped in India every year. A staggering 52% of them are boys. Horrific stories of children falling prey to molestation and sexual abuse appear on the media almost on a daily basis. Many cases are never reported because the abused child is reluctant to confide to anyone.
There are usually four types of child abuse. They are physical, psychological or emotional, sexual, and neglect and abandonment. Studies have revealed that one in every four girls and one in every eight boys are abused in India. Nearly one in every 20 children is physically abused. Many of them cannot emerge out of the trauma and grow up into complex individuals that have an effect on their later family life.
Identifying the signs of abuse early is extremely important. Parents and teachers particularly should be very vigilant. But as members of a civilised society, it is incumbent on everybody to notice and report child abuse.
Here are some common child abuse signs that you should never ignore.
1. Avoiding a parent or caregiver
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If a child suddenly starts to avoid a parent or a caregiver then this is a clear indication there must be some problem. In case of physical or psychological abuse, a child will start avoiding that person.
2. Injuries in private parts
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Perhaps the most important of all child abuse signs and the most dangerous. Injuries in a child’s private parts, like the genitals, buttocks, inside of the legs and arms, and the back, are clear signs of abuse. Parents should keep checking their children’s private parts more often.
3. Low grades
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Children who are neglected or abused at home, have behavioural problems and often become victims of bullying at school. Physical and sexual abuse could lead to a major depression which in turns affects the child’s education. They lose interest in activities that they once loved.