Child abuse is any act or failure to act that endangers a child’s physical or emotional health and development. Child abuse often takes place within the home or involves a person the child knows quite well, such as a relative, babysitter, friend or acquaintance.
Failure to provide for a child’s basic needs (physical, educational, and / or emotional)
Injury as a result of hitting, kicking, shaking, burning, or otherwise harming a child
Indecent exposure, fondling, rape, or commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic material
Any pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth, including constant criticism, threats, and rejection
Although the presence of certain risk factors can increase the likelihood of child abuse, their existence does not automatically lead to abuse. Rather, recent research suggests that child abuse arises from the interaction of risk factors which compounds stress and parenting challenges within families.
Research is proving that there are five commonalities that healthy families share. These five protective factors can be supported and strengthened within vulnerable families to combat risk factors and prevent incidences of child abuse.
Family and child interactions that help children develop the ability to communicate clearly, recognize and regulate their emotions, and establish and maintain relationships
Understanding parenting strategies that support physical, cognitive, language, social, and emotional development
Managing stress and functioning well when faced with challenges, adversity, and trauma
Positive relationships that provide emotional, informational, and spiritual support
Access to concrete support and services that address a family’s needs