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Unfortunately, many children are abused and mistreated. Worse still, this is not a recent trend, for many years in history children have been ill treated. As more research is done we are now more than ever able to understand the detrimental lifelong effects abuse has on people.
Abuse in all of its form is no longer a taboo topic; it is now discussed much more than in previous times. The advantage is that it also makes people much more aware of the issue and more likely to report abuse cases to the authorities.
 What is Child Abuse?
In a legal sense, child abuse the act of an adult harming a child. Child abuse can happen through the deliberate act of harm as well as by not doing things to care for the child.
Child abuse can be categorized as four different types:
 What is Physical Abuse?
Child Physical Abuse is the hurting or injuring a child’s body by hitting, shaking, biting, burning, punching, slapping or beating. Signs can include bruising, swelling, broken bones, welts and even death.
 What is Emotional Abuse?
Emotional Abuse in children occurs when an adult’s behaviour towards them instills fear, shame, sadness as well as low self esteem. Some examples of such abuse can include criticizing, teasing, putting down, shouting, screaming, refusing to help, degrading, shaming, threatening and withdrawing love.
When children are subject to these types of activities they feel unloved, frightened, worthless and lack self esteem. There is a good chance that these children will grow into adults who have trouble forming positive relationships. Emotional abuse is also common in cases of physical and sexual abuse.
 What is Neglect?
Neglect occurs when a parent/caregiver is unwillingly or unable to provide adequate care for the child. Child neglect can occur:
 What is Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse involves sexual contact with a child, this can include: sexual suggestions, pornography, masturbation, oral sex, penetration etc. Sexual abuse can also include enticing children to pose for inappropriate photographs.
 Who Abuses Children?
Child abusers are not from one particular group, age or race. There is nothing that makes them appear different to anybody else who forms part of our community. Often the abusers are people who have easy access to children. These can include parents, grandparents, step parents, siblings, uncles, aunties, neighbours, baby sitters, child care workers and community leaders.
A vast majority of child abusers do not view themselves as being abusive. Most commonly abusers will argue that their actions were in the child’s best interest.
A lot of abusers feel guilt and do not intend to hurt the child in the first place.
 What are the Effects of Child Abuse?
The effects of childhood abuse can be varied; it can also be dependent on the type of abuse that occurred as well as the length of the abuse and the identity of the perpetrator.
One of the most common effects can be the loss of trust in other people, this is more so if the child is abused by a close relative or trusted person.
Children who are raised in violent households lead children to feel fearful and frightened. It can also lead them to physically harm others later in life.
Abused children often feel like there is something wrong with them and that they deserved to be hurt.
Child sexual abuse can lead children to grow up having misconceptions about sex and relationships. This can lead them to be confused about roles and responsibilities.
However in all cases of abuse, with the right support and counseling there is no reason the person cannot grow into a normal, well adjusted, functioning member of society.
 Child Abuse Awareness
The Blue Ribbon Campaign is the utilization of blue ribbons as a symbol for Child Abuse awareness. It began in 1989 when Bonnie Finney tied a blue ribbon to her own van as a signal to stop child abuse. Bonnie's own grandson, Michael Dickerson, was a child abuse fatality.