Child abuse protection is important for any child that is subjected to neglect, physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse. This article deals primarily with neglect. Of course there is overlap with the other forms of abuse but neglect is probably the most hidden and often the most difficult one to assess and understand.
Even seemingly good parents can be neglecting there children in one way or another even if they have loving intent. Take for example recent cases involving the death of children because their parents believed God is in control and therefore all they needed to do was to pray. Even though these parents were attending to what they saw was the need of the child because of their misdirected thinking they were in effect neglecting their child. It was imperative for them to receive adequate medical attention for their child.
There are numerous signs of child abuse that may be coming from a child and those working with children need to be perceptive to these signs. These signs can include the physical appearance of a child. The child may be of low weight indicating that they are not receiving adequate nourishment enabling them to thrive and develop. Their complexion and hair texture may be poor. They look tired and worn out. It is important to look for signs such as untreated physical problems, a baby may have severe nappy rash and urine scalds. Older children may have untreated sores and dental decay.
When considering if a child is being neglected it is important to look at their standard of hygiene. Children need to take proper care of themselves and therefore as children grow they learn elementary hygiene practices such as washing their hands and other parts of their body. Children should not be going through garbage seeking food or other basic products.
The behaviour of children is often telling. Neglected children often seek out the attention of an older person. Their behaviour could be self injurious including such bahaviour as rocking, sucking, head banging etc. A child may avoid going to school and may isolate themselves from other activities as well. Poor school attendance may indicate that a parent is not at home properly supervising a child at the beginning of a day. On the other hand a child might want to linger at school rather than go home. They may be found in other public places or they may be going to the homes of their friends and acquaintances
An area of neglect which may appear contradictory is that of a parent who is harsh and unreasonable in the discipline of their child. Parents can sometimes have high expectations of their children and may over discipline them for trivial matters. The reason why this becomes neglect is that these parents are neglecting to provide a warm caring environment for their child. Frequently in these circumstances children become rebellious and in need of child abuse protection because of the troubles they get themselves in to. Of course this is not an easy issue because it is so very difficult for many parents to gain the balance between child discipline and allowing children to become independent and self reliant.