Abuse typically is broken down into four different types which include; physical, sexual, emotional or psychological, and neglect (Norman et al., 2012). During the 2012 fiscal year there were an estimated 686,000 abused and neglected children in the United States (Child Maltreatment, 2012). 686,000 includes children who were found by the state to have suffered from at least one form of abuse, and includes the children who died as a result of abuse (Child Maltreatment, 2012). There are many signs and symptoms that can be exhibited by children who suffer abuse, some signs and symptoms overlap, and some are unique to the type of abuse the child is suffering. Besides the experience of abuse and the imitate signs a child may display there are also long term effects of abuse that can last into adulthood. The purpose of this paper is to give an overview of the four types of abuse, the signs and symptoms, and the long term effects that an abused child can face throughout their life.
Physical abuse of a child is defined as the intentional use of excessive physical force that does or can result in injury, health risks, developmental issues, and possibly even death (Norman et al., 2012). In most cases, a child is abused by a parent or a caregiver, but sometimes the abuse can be inflicted by an older sibling (Crosson-Tower, 2008). Differences in culture can skew the line between tradition, discipline, and abuse (Crosson-Tower, 2008). Typically abuse is when a bruise or a mark is left and is visible for a prolonged amount of time, and when an investigation takes place culture is taken into account to an extent (Crosson-Tower, 2008). One of the most common indicators of physical abuse is bruises (Crosson-Tower, 2008).
Bruising is also important to note as they heal in different stages which can indicate abuse on more than one occasion has occurred (Crosson-Tower, 2008). The shape or a bruise may also be an indicator if a child is hit forcefully with an object the bruise can take the shape of the object such as a coat hanger, belt, cords, etc. (Crosson-Tower, 2008). Bruising location is also important as some areas are not common for a bruise (Crosson-Tower, 2008). Bruising in unusual areas like the face, head, upper arms, upper legs can suggest that an accident occurred but when there is an unusual number or quality to these bruises neglect and physical “abuse should be considered” (Crosson-Tower, 2008, p. 181).
Physical abuse can also be indicated in other ways, for example, by burns especially in areas that are unusual like the palms of hands or bottom of feet (Crosson-Tower, 2008). A spiral break causes concern for doctors because it is caused by yanking a child hard and twisting an arm or leg (Crosson-Tower, 2008). Skull fractures, breaks that healed improperly, and calcium deposits around improperly healed breaks are other physical signs of abuse (Crosson-Tower, 2008). The behavioral signs of abuse may be an infant who...