C4: Do I Know the Different Forms of Child Abuse?

In the U.S., the basic definition of child abuse is any “act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation,” while neglect is “an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”[1]  Abuse and neglect are defined more specifically on a state-by-state basis.  

There are many different forms of child abuse and neglect. As a CN, you may encounter situations where you may suspect abuse and neglect.  It is important to understand the many different aspects of abuse.  Cultural values, familiar standards of care, or even poverty may be contributing factors to cases of suspected child abuse or neglect. 

As with IPV, the challenge in evaluating cases of suspected child abuse or neglect among newcomers is distinguishing between behavior based on traditional cultural practices  and intentional abuse and neglect.

Finally, there can be serious misunderstandings about the expected norms of living in the U.S. misunderstandings that may lead to serious health risks.

[1] http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/whatiscan.cfm


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