Child abuse and neglect are topics that all of us would simply rather not think about, much less talk about. Yet the topics are vital. They demand full attention. Children of all races, all economic levels, all ages and both sexes are abused and neglected in every country in the world and in every state in the Union.
The potential for child abuse and child neglect is not limited to a specific place, time, or segment of society.
The law defines child abuse and neglect as:
* Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or
* An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.
The law is pretty clear on the subject and on the nightly news we are shown the stomach turning cases of severe child abuse. All child abuse, however, is not abundantly clear. That’s why we all must be aware of what exactly does constitute child abuse.
First, a child can be abused before he is even born if the expectant mother takes drugs that will harm the infant, drinks alcohol, or uses tobacco products. All of these behaviors of the mother put the child at risk and ARE child abuse. SUSPECTED child abuse should be reported to the authorities. If you see a child in a situation that is dangerous to the child’s safety or see evidence of physical abuse, it is your duty as a member of the human race to report that abuse or neglect. The number for “Child Protective Services” can be found in your telephone directory.
A mother spanking a child on his bottom with an open hand does NOT constitute child abuse. However, a mother or father hitting a child with a weapon (belt, board, etc.) or with a closed fist IS child abuse and it should be reported.