Child abuse is horrific. Abusers are monsters targeting the most vulnerable among us, without considering the lifelong trauma caused by their actions. A recent Scottish study found 90 percent of children aged 5 and younger who were taken into government care had suffered significant abuse and neglect.
According to the study:
- Two-thirds had experienced multiple types of mistreatment, including neglect and emotional, physical or sexual abuse.
- The abuse of nearly three-quarters was rated severe.
- Half suffered abuse in the womb because of alcohol or drug misuse by their mothers.
As noted by Professor Nina Biehal, a study co-director, the problems for children continue long after they have been removed from dangerous environments.
“We know that children who have experienced abuse and neglect are more likely to experience mental health difficulties," she said. "The study highlights the importance of finding stable placements for children as soon as possible.”
Types of abuse and neglect – and their warning signs
Abuse and neglect take many forms.
- Physical abuse: Hitting or shaking a child, or burning them with a hot object
- Psychological abuse: Constantly yelling at a child, ignoring them, or withholding love
- Sexual abuse: Ranging from inappropriate touching to sexual intercourse and indecent exposure
- Physical neglect: Leaving children alone for long periods of time, not providing enough food, and poor hygiene
- Emotional neglect: Regularly ignoring or insulting a child, or threatening them with severe punishment
Warning signs of abuse, neglect and sexual abuse:
- Unexplained injuries
- Flinching or acting frightened around others
- Notably quiet and withdrawn
- Sudden and extreme changes in mood
- Sudden changes in school performance
- Difficulty sitting or walking
- Blood-stained underwear
- Pain in the genital area
An attorney can help you rescue a child
If you suspect child abuse or neglect and feel helpless, imagine what a small child is experiencing. They may be in pain, confused, alone and feel responsible for their situation – that they deserve to be neglected or abused, often because that is what their abuser, more often than not an authority figure in their life, tells them.
These cases are complicated. If you suspect a child is being victimized – at their own home or in foster care – but have no direct evidence, you may have doubts about getting involved. At the same time, though, you may be the only person who notices something is terribly wrong. You may be a defenseless child’s only hope.
The child neglect and abuse attorneys at The Deratany Firm in Chicago have extensive experience handling these complex cases across the country. We will work with you to be certain any abuse victims are getting the attention and care that they truly deserve. Contact our law office today for a free consultation to learn how you can make a difference in the life of a young child.