Parents are the most frequent child abusers. However, friends, neighbors and relatives can be abusers as well as strangers. Child abuse occurs in all cultural, ethnic, occupational and socio-economic groups.
Statistics from cases reported show the magnitude of child abuse:
- More than 2,000 children die from child abuse and neglect each year.
- Child abuse is the most common cause of death in children under five years of age.
- One out of four children will experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18.
Indicators of child abuse are:
- Habitual school absences, tardiness and arriving home late from school
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplainable fears
- Unusual changes from previous emotional and/or physical behavior
- Welts, bruises, burns or other skin injuries
- Wariness of physical contact
- Learning problems that cannot be diagnosed
After child abuse is detected and confirmed, it is important to report the case to proper authorities, get immediate treatment, check for support services and seek extended counseling for the child and the parents.