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“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.” — John 13:34

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Susan Stack
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Child abuse awareness materials

Child abuse is usually not just one physical attack or a single instance of failure to meet a child’s most basic needs, although it may be. Usually it is a pattern of behavior taking place over a period of time. It involves intentional acts committed by a parent, caregiver or person in a position of trust who threatens to harm or harms a child’s physical or emotional welfare. Child abuse and neglect cut across all ages, races, genders, creeds and socioeconomic groups. It is a violation of the covenant that we have to care for the “least of these.”


Physical Abuse includes such acts as shaking, beatings, burning, scalding, strangulation and kicking, for example.

Neglect is the withholding of or failure to provide a child with the basic necessities of life: food, clothing, shelter, medical care, proper hygiene, education and age appropriate supervision. It also includes ignoring a child’s need for contact, affirmation, stimulation and emotional nurture.

Sexual Abuse involves exploitation of a child for the sexual gratification of an adult or a person with power over the child. Behaviors include sexualizing interactions, exhibitionism, fondling, exposing children to pornography and intercourse.

Emotional Abuse is a pattern of behavior that attacks a child’s emotional development and self-esteem. It includes close confinement, verbal assault, rejection and the withholding of adequate love, support or guidance.

  • Every 35 seconds, a child is abused or neglected in the United States.
  • Of those who suffer abuse
    • 63.2 percent are neglected
    • 18.9 percent are victims of physical abuse
    • 9.9 percent suffer sexual abuse
    • 4.9 experience emotional and psychological abuse.
  • Young children are the most at risk for being abused and neglected.
  • Both child maltreatment and domestic violence occur in an estimated 30 to 60 percent of families where some form of family violence occurs.
  • Estimates of the numbers of children who witness family violence are in the millions. (Children’s Defense Fund)

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