Children who have dealt with maltreatment and abuse who serious changes in vital areas of the brain. These changes have been linked with schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, and drug addiction. Abuse during childhood massively increases the risk of victims turning to drugs and alcohol. They may have experienced verbal or emotional abuse, separation or discord with their parents, emotional or physical neglect, or abuse of a physical or sexual nature. Brain scans offer evidence of trauma, even if they had not been diagnosed with a particular disorder.
Many experts have referred to child maltreatment as mental health’s tobacco industry. Evidence has shown that a smoking habit directly causes physical diseases, and leaves us predisposed for others, evidence has also shown that abuse during childhood contributes to a variety of mental illnesses.
Domestic violence, or family violence, generally refers to the physical assault of children and women. This is generally carried out by a male relative, such as a father/husband, or boyfriend. The man is using violence as a means to control his children and his partner. He believes that it’s a male prerogative, something that he has no control over. Or, he may believe that his family is to blame for his behavior. Women can also be guilty of family violence, however, it’s unusual for violent women to show violence on the same scale as violent men have.
Abuse or maltreatment during childhood may shrink vital parts of the brain. Research from Harvard University has found that parts of the hippocampus had reduced in size, possibly explaining why childhood trauma results in psychiatric disorders, such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, and drug addiction. It’s this link that may allow researchers to find more effective ways of treating childhood abuse survivors. The research offers an explanation as to why childhood abuse sufferers are more prone to psychosis and drug abuse.
According to the National Children’s Alliance over 700,000 children are abused every year in the US. Just over 1,500 children die due to neglect and abuse every year, and Children’s Advocacy Centers serve over 300,000 child abuse victims across the country.
Child abuse doesn’t just leave physical scars, it also leaves a mark on the brain, and possibly the genes. According to The National Academy of Sciences, abused children who suffer with PTSD may experience a unique form of the disorder.
The study’s main aim was to determine whether patients with the same diagnosis have the same underlying biology despite different early environments.
For school-aged youth, the second leading cause of death is suicide. For children who have been subjected to sexual abuse, or violence, the risk of suicidal thoughts is greater. Suicide is preventable, though, because youth considering suicide often give off warning sighs. It’s vital that teachers, friends, and parents are able to pick up on these signs in time to seek help. If these signs are present they should not be taken lightly.
Sex Offender Grooming
Child sex offenders use deliberate tactics to select their victims, and engage them in abuse. This is known as the grooming process. Offenders often identify vulnerable children, such as those in need, unhappy, or less likely to tell someone about the abuse.
All too often, cases of child abuse or neglect go unaddressed. Victims of abuse, especially children, will seldom report their abuser to authorities. This can be due to many different reasons, but the bottom line is that it’s simply not reasonable to expect an abused or neglected child to be their own advocate. It is for this reason that many adults who work in a position that may allow them to help advocate for the child are tasked with being mandated reporters.
The American Society for the Positive Care of Children estimates that almost 2,000 children suffer from abuse every day, with roughly 1,600 abuse related deaths every year. This includes infants, young children, and teens. Possibly because it is so heartbreaking, child abuse isn’t often talked about. With this many children suffering every day it is clear that the time has come to start the conversation. In order to spread awareness, it’s important to understand the different types of child abuse.