Author Julie Gerrits and Sydney Newton Isbn 978 0778721345 File size 6MB Year 2010 Pages 48 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Examines the various issues of child maltreatment including physical emotional and sexual abuse and neglect This book discusses disclosure and feeling safe and explains how abuse and neglect affects children and adults Download 6MB Divorce and Blended Families Straight Talk About 101 Mindful Arts Based Activities to Get
Author : Julie Gerrits and Sydney Newton
ISBN : 978 0778721345
Year : 2010
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Category : Family and Friendship
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Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Child abuse / Sydney Newton and Julie Gerrits.
Child abuse / Sydney Newton and Julie Gerrits.
p. cm. -- (Straight talk about--)
ISBN 978-0-7787-2134-5 (pbk. : alk. paper) -ISBN 978-0-7787-2127-7 (reinforced library binding : alk. paper)
-- ISBN 978-1-4271-9540-1 (electronic (pdf))
1. Child abuse--Juvenile literature. I. Gerrits, Julie. II. Title.
(Straight talk about--)
Issued also in an electronic format.
ISBN 978-0-7787-2127-7 (bound).--ISBN 978-0-7787-2134-5 (pbk.)
1. Child abuse--Juvenile literature. I. Gerrits, Julie II. Title.
III. Series: Straight talk about-- (St. Catharines, Ont.)
Crabtree Publishing Company
Printed in China/082010/AP20100512
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Abuse of Trust
What Is Child Abuse?
Hot Topics Q&A
Glossary & Index
Kelly walked home from school with the feeling in her chest. That
heavy feeling. There’d been empty bottles in the kitchen this
morning, and Dad had slept on the couch again.
Things hadn’t been the same since Dad got fired. He’d always been
scary when he got mad, but lately, he was always mad.
She opened the door with her house key. It was empty and dark
inside. She tiptoed to the kitchen to make a snack.
“What’re you doing?” Dad stared at her from a
kitchen chair. His eyes were red and he
looked very tired.
“You’re just nothing. Go play.”
“Mom lets me have a snack after
“I’m not Mommy. And I said get out
Kelly climbed the stairs with tears
in her eyes. She shut the door
to her room and sat on the
floor. “Stupid,” she says to
herself. “I’m so stupid.”
Downstairs, she heard a
cupboard slam and the
sound of her dad swearing.
Abuse of Trust
Kelly doesn’t know that what’s happening to her is
wrong. She knows it feels bad, but she doesn’t know
that she needs help to make it stop. Like many
young people who are abused, she blames herself
for her dad’s behavior, and she thinks that if she
is really good, she can make it stop.
Child abuse can mean a lot of different things. It
means hurting a child either with hands or with
words, or not making sure the child goes to school,
has enough food to eat, or a safe place to sleep.
Most of the time the abuser is someone the child
should be able to trust and depend on, such as a
parent, relative, babysitter, teacher, or coach.
In this book, you will learn more about child abuse
and why it’s wrong. You will also learn how to find
the right place to go and talk to someone if you or
a friend is being abused, or if you have more
questions about child abuse.
“Abuse is something that cannot always be seen.
Abuse hurts people on the inside and outside, and
the pain feels worse when it is kept a secret.”
Vanessa, child and family therapist.
All children have the right to feel safe and be free from harm
regardless of their age, gender, race, or background. This is a
basic human right. In spite of this, not everyone lives in an
environment where they feel cared for and safe. There are
many children, adolescents, and teens just like you who are
being hurt—abused by people they love and depend upon. You
may be friends with someone who is being abused now and not
even know it. Or you may be experiencing abuse yourself and
not know what to do about it.
What Is Child Abuse?
Child abuse happens when an adult a child trusts or depends
on hurts, mistreats, or does not care for them. Child abuse is
against the law. A child can be abused by a parent, sibling,
coach, or teacher, as well as someone they are less close to,
such as a friend’s parent. Adults who are in a position of trust
should always have a child’s best interest at heart, and should
teach them, protect them, and encourage them to do well. An
adult who is abusing a child is violating the child’s trust. They
are putting themselves first, often by taking their frustrations
out on a child, or using power to control them.
Where Does Abuse Happen?
Abuse can occur anywhere, including your home, a friend’s
house, or at school. Any child can be a victim of abuse,
regardless of age, race, gender, or family income. There are
different forms of abuse, including physical abuse, emotional
or psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. All forms of
abuse are against the law and harmful to children, regardless
of whether the harm is caused by fists, words, or touch.
Hurtful and Harmful
Psychologists call all forms of child abuse child
maltreatment. Maltreatment means to treat someone cruelly
or with coercion or violence. Physical abuse happens when
an adult or someone in a position of power harms a child’s
body. An adult is abusing you if he or she is hitting or kicking
you when they are mad. Emotional abuse, or what is often
called inside hurting, occurs when an adult says hurtful
things that make you feel bad about yourself or if the adult
acts in a manipulative way. If a teacher tells your friend
they are “stupid” or a “waste of space,” it is emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse also includes hearing or seeing someone else,
such as a parent, being abused. Sexual abuse occurs when an
adult, older adolescent, or teen touches a child in places that
are private, such as the genitals, buttocks, or breasts. Neglect
is another form of abuse that happens when an adult does not
take proper care of a child. A friend who is experiencing neglect
may have parents who do not feed them during the day or who
leave them with caregivers who are not trustworthy. Although
each type of abuse is different, one thing always remains the
same—abuse is never a child’s fault.
How Common Is Abuse?
Child abuse is a hidden problem. Experts think the instances
of child abuse are much higher than reported. This sometimes
happens because most abuse is investigated by the police
or child welfare authorities, who require a complaint to get
involved. Children who are being abused may be too scared
or embarrassed to tell anyone what is happening for fear
they or their abusers will get into trouble, or that they won’t be
believed. Some never tell anyone. Each year, there are over 1.8
million child abuse investigations in the United States alone.
Rough treatment may seem so normal that kids might not understand that
what is happening to them is abuse.
Who Is at Risk?
Although abuse can
happen to anyone,
some things make
some children more
at risk. These include:
• Living in a home
where violence is
• Living in a home
where a parent or
adult caregiver is
addicted to drugs
• Living in a home
where a parent or
adult caregiver has
a mental health
condition that they
are not receiving
• Living in a home
where parents or
adult caregivers are
under a great deal
Why Does It Happen?
Child abuse has no single cause.
There are many things that
contribute to abuse. Abuse is
often about power and control.
Abusers have the power and are
able to use it to control children,
adolescents, and teenagers. It
is an adult’s job to ensure that
children in their care are safe
and free from harm. Sometimes
adults are not able or willing
to care for children because of
addictions or stresses in their
lives. This is not a child’s fault,
but is a result of an adult
situation a child has little
control over. Abuse also happens
when an adult oversteps the
boundaries of discipline—taking
punishment and correction
of children too far.
Fists should never be used to
Effects of Abuse
Abuse influences how children, adolescents, and teens think,
feel, and act. It can affect someone immediately, such as while
the abuse is occurring. It can also affect someone long after
the abuse has ended, in adulthood. Someone who is being
abused may feel embarrassed, ashamed, or as if the abuse is
their fault. As a result, they may keep the abuse to themselves,
which can cause them to feel as if they are all alone. If you are
being abused, you may also feel confused about why it is
happening, and you may want to protect the person who is
hurting you. A boy who is being abused by his father, for
example, may be confused about what to do because he
knows that what is happening is wrong, but loves his dad
and does not want him to get into trouble.
Abuse may be
children, who may
think they deserve
to be hurt or
“I am so confused and do not know how to fix it.
One day my dad is so nice to me and my brother, but
the next day he is angry and hurts us. I don’t know
what I am doing to make him nice one day, and hit
me the next.”
Jacob, aged 10.
A black eye or bloody lip are what people imagine when
they think of physical abuse. But physical abuse is not just
deliberate beatings and assaults. It can be severe discipline
or physical punishment, as well.
Sticks, Stones, and Broken Bones
Physical abuse is the most visual or obvious type of abuse.
It involves situations where an adult hurts or injures a child’s
body. The abuse may be intentional, such as when a parent
or caregiver hits a child while angry, or unintentional,
such as when a parent is angry and throws a chair that
accidentally hits a child. Some examples of physical abuse
include hitting, kicking, or choking a child, pushing a child
down the stairs, hitting a child with an object such as a belt
or shoe, burning a child with a cigarette, or purposefully
putting a child in a situation where they are likely to be
hurt. Physical punishment does not have to leave a mark
or visible scars to be abuse.
“How could I tell
anyone what was
happening to me if I
didn’t trust them? I
never knew what to say
or how to say it. I was
scared that if they
knew they would take
me away and make me
live with people I
didn’t know. Or that
they would tell my
mom and things would
Thomasina, aged 15.
Physical abuse is the second
most commonly reported
type of abuse, after neglect.
Physical abuse not only
causes harm to a child’s body
in the form of cuts, bruises,
and broken bones, it also
causes emotional harm.
Children who are physically
abused are more at risk for
disorders such as anxiety,
depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder
(PTSD) because of their early
experiences with violence.
They may also have trouble
forming trusting relationships
and even trusting their own
judgments and inner voice.
Although the risk for these
things is higher for those who
have been abused, many
survivors of abuse are strong,
caring people. Abuse does not
have to define who a person
is and how they behave
throughout their lives.
Fear, Control, and Power
Children can become victims of physical abuse at any age,
including when they are infants. When it comes to those who
physically abuse children, perpetrators are not limited to
any specific gender, age, race, or income level. Most don’t
have anything in common except a belief in power and
force. Abusers use fear to control their victims. Some don’t
understand or accept that this is wrong. They may be
influenced by their own past experiences or by the society
or culture they live in that views violence as normal. This
can make it even more difficult for their victims who may
start to believe their maltreatment is normal and
acceptable—even if it frightens and hurts them.
Children might not
have the words to
say that they are
react to abuse with
anger or fear.
Abuse vs. Discipline
You may have heard your grandparents describe getting their
“hide tanned” or getting a “whuppin” from their parents for
misbehaving as a child. The hurt and humiliation obviously
wasn’t something they forgot. Years ago, severe forms of
discipline such as hitting with belts and switches was considered
acceptable. Most schools even had corporal punishment such
as hand slapping and strappings for children who disobeyed
rules. Today, we know this form of punishment is not effective
and is in fact hurtful and abusive. Sometimes abuse is explained
as discipline “gone too far.” Physical discipline that humiliates
and hurts a child or leaves visible marks is abuse. It makes a
child feel worthless and fearful. Discipline is intended to guide,
direct, or correct behavior. It should be clear, predictable, and
consistent and should not be given when a parent or caregiver
is very angry and might not be able to control themselves.
Disciplining with weapons, such as belts or spoons is physical abuse.
Physical Abuse Warning Signs
There are some warning signs that a child may
be experiencing physical abuse. However, it is
important to note that these are warning signs,
not proof positive that abuse is occurring. You can
always ask a child is they are being abused, but they
may not trust you or may be too frightened to tell
the truth. Some warning signs are listed below:
• Unexplained bruises, cuts, or marks on a
• A child who is being abused may become shy or
uncomfortable when asked about their bruises,
and may change their story about how they got
the mark. In addition, they may wear clothing
that covers up their marks so that other people
will not notice.
• Some children appear “jumpy,” nervous, or shy
when they hear a loud noise, or when someone
tries to touch them.
• A child may be nervous or shy when someone is
angry because they are used to being hurt by
other adults when they are angry.
• Unreasonable or unexplained fear of leaving
a safe place or not wanting to go home
• A child frequently misses days at school or
special events, or has frequent nightmares.
• Unexplained anger or aggression towards
schoolmates or other children
“My grandma took care of us but treated me different
than my younger brothers. Sometimes she called me
names and they always got more things and better
clothes. I didn’t get why she didn’t like me. I thought
I could make her love me some day. It really hurt.”
Tanya, aged 17.
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