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You are here: Home What is Abuse? Neglect

Neglect

 

Child neglect, which is 63% of all substantiated cases of child abuse, is the most common form of child maltreatment reported to child protective services. It is defined as a "type of maltreatment that refers to the failure to provide needed age-appropriate care," such as shelter, food, clothing, education, supervision, medical care and other basic necessities needed for development of physical, intellectual and emotional capacities. Unlike physical and sexual abuse, neglect is usually typified by an ongoing pattern of inadequate care and is readily observed by individuals in close contact with the child. Physicians, nurses, day care personnel, relatives and neighbours are frequently the ones to suspect and report neglected infants, toddlers and preschool children.

Physical neglect -- accounts for the majority of cases of maltreatment. The definition includes the refusal of, or extreme delay in seeking necessary health care, child abandonment, inadequate supervision, rejection of a child leading to expulsion from the home, and failing to adequately provide for the child's safety and physical and emotional needs. Physical neglect can severely impact a child's development by causing failure to thrive, malnutrition; serious illnesses; physical harm in the form of cuts, bruises and burns due to lack of supervision and a lifetime of low self-esteem.

Educational neglect -- occurs when a child is allowed to engage in chronic truancy, is of mandatory school age but not enrolled in school or receiving needed special educational training. Educational neglect can lead to underachievement in acquiring necessary basic skills, dropping out of school and/or continually disruptive behaviour.

Emotional neglect -- includes such actions as chronic or extreme spousal abuse in the child's presence, allowing a child to use drugs or alcohol, refusal or failure to provide needed psychological care, constant belittling and withholding of affection. This pattern of behaviour can lead to poor self-image, alcohol or drug abuse, destructive behaviour and even suicide. Severe neglect of infants can result in the infant failing to grow and thrive and may even lead to infant death.

Medical neglect -- is the failure to provide appropriate health care for a child although financially able to do so. In some cases, a parent or caretaker will withhold traditional medical care during the practice of religious beliefs. These cases generally do not fall under the definition of medical neglect; however, some states will obtain a court order forcing medical treatment of a child in order to save a child's life or prevent life-threatening injury resulting from the lack of treatment. Medical neglect can result in poor overall health and compounded medical problems.

What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?
When a baby is vigorously shaken, the head moves back and forth. This sudden whiplash motion can cause bleeding inside the head and increased pressure on the brain, causing the brain to pull apart and resulting in injury to the baby. This is known as Shaken Baby Syndrome, and is one of the leading forms of fatal child abuse. A baby's head and neck are susceptible to head trauma because his or her muscles are not fully developed and the brain tissue is exceptionally fragile. Head trauma is the leading cause of disability among abused infants and children.

Shaken Baby Syndrome occurs most frequently in infants younger than six months old, yet can occur up to the age of three. Often there are no obvious outward signs if inside injury, particularly in the head or behind the eyes. In reality, shaking a baby, if only for a few seconds, can injure the baby for life. These injuries can include brain swelling and damage; cerebral palsy; mental retardation; developmental delays; blindness; hearing loss; paralysis and death. When a child is shaken in anger and frustration, the force is multiplied five or 10 times than it would be if the child had simply tripped and fallen.

How does it happen?
Often frustrated parents or other persons responsible for a child's care feel that shaking a baby is a harmless way to make a child stop crying. The number one reason a baby is shaken is because of inconsolable crying. Almost 25 percent of all babies with Shaken Baby Syndrome die. It is estimated that 25-50 percent of parents and caretakers aren't aware of the effects of shaking a baby

 

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You are here: Home What is Abuse? Neglect