Why should you be concerned about child abuse?
In India, a child is sexually abused every 15 minutes. According to the 2016 report on crimes in India, 106,958 cases of crimes against children were recorded in 2016. Of these, 36,022 cases were recorded under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.
There are several factors that can increase the risk of child abuse, including age, gender, disability, or socio-economic background. Their vulnerability puts the onus on adults around the child - parents, teachers, community members - to ensure that a child is safe, free from abuse and grows in a supportive environment.
Whether you are a parent, a teacher, a relative or a caregiver, you can make a difference and help the children grow up in a caring and safe environment. Adults don't have to be perfect, just willing to listen, learn, grow, and change.
Domestic violence and child abuse
Children who live with domestic violence face numerous risks, such as the risk of exposure to traumatic events, neglect, physical and emotional abuse, and the risk of losing one or both of their parents. This can lead to negative outcomes for the children. Children who witness domestic violence or are victims of abuse themselves are at serious risk for long-term physical and mental health problems and at greater risk of being violent in their future relationships.
What are the consequences of child abuse?
Child abuse and neglect is a social and public health problem with long lasting impact on the child. The risks of child abuse can be both short-term and long-term, ranging from physical to emotional difficulties.
Child abuse can have temporary and lasting physical damage. It can also cause higher levels of aggression, anger, hostility, and disobedience; fear, anxiety, withdrawal, and depression; poor peer, sibling, and social relationships; and low self-esteem. There can also be cognitive and attitudinal consequences, such as lower cognitive functioning, poor school performance, lack of conflict resolution skills, limited problem solving skills, acceptance of violent behaviors and attitudes, substance abuse.
Child abuse can also have long-term consequences such as an increase in adult depression, anxiety, as well as, an increased tolerance for and use of violence in adult relationships. In fact, the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) study has shown that considerable and prolonged stress in childhood has life-long consequences for a person's health and well-being.