A: EMOTIONAL / VERBAL ABUSE – A pattern of maltreatment of a child which results in impaired psychological health, growth and development. Chronic pattern of belittlement impacting a child’s self worth or esteem, or withholding any positive attention or support. This can occur by itself, or with physical and sexual abuse. This is by far the most difficult form of abuse to substantiate and may require professional evidence of harm to the child.
NEGLECT – A condition in which a parent or caretaker denies the child their basic needs such as adequate food, clothing, medical care, or shelter. This is done either deliberately or through chronic disregard thus causing the child to experience avoidable suffering or fails to provide essential ingredients for developing physically, intellectually, socially, or emotionally.
PHYSICAL – A form of abuse that results in physical injury or injuries to the child by a parent or caretaker that are not by accidental means. While the caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child the injury may have resulted from over-discipline or physical punishment. It may have been inflicted by the hand or with the use of objects. Examples include bruises, welts, fractures, burns, cuts, and internal injuries.
SEXUAL – The sexual exploitation of a child from exhibitionism and fondling to oral sex and intercourse. Sexual abuse may also be committed by a person under the age of eighteen when that person is older and or in a position of power and control over the other child. There are two forms of sexual abuse: active abuse, where the older person actually exploits the child; and passive abuse, where a person takes no action when he/she is aware that the child is being abused and therefore allows the abuse to continue. Few children speak directly about sexual abuse and in most cases there is no medical evidence of the abuse.
It is important to note that there may be considerable overlap between the categories of abuse. Many children who are sexually abused are probably also emotionally neglected by at least one parent. The child who is physically neglected is likely to be emotionally neglected also.