Child abuse and neglect -6 types and 6 causes of Child abuse

Children are a precious gift from Almighty God. They need to be cared for, loved, cherished, appreciated and adored reliably. In an African context, children are so regarded that a family without a child is seen as an incomplete institution. Ononuju (1993) stated that children are not enemies of adults irrespective of their misconduct, mostly age-oriented.

As an important arm of society, they should be seen as love and parental happiness objects.
Who is a child? Onuzulike (2002) generally stated that a child is an individual under eighteen years. Child abuse is the portion of harm done to a child, which may be from human action, or inaction that is prescribed or proximate and preventable.


Preventable here implies that it is not accidental but intentionally inflicted on the child by the perpetrator who does not care about the outcome Alabi (, 1986).

What is Child abuse?

ANPPCAN (1986) stated that child abuse is the intentional, unintentional or well intentional acts that endanger the child’s physical health, emotional, moral, and educational welfare.

Maduewesi (1993) also stated that child abuse is both planned and sometimes unplanned acts and activities directed against the child, which can cause emotional harm. Based on these definitions, this writer stated strongly that child abuse is any action that prevents a child from achieving his physical, emotional or psychological potential.

Therefore, child abuse involves a total of ill-treatment and neglect emitted to the child, including what ought to have been done to enhance the child’s development but was not done.

Various forms/types of child abuse. These includes (i) physical (ii) sexual abuse (iii) emotional abuse (iv) social abuse (v) cultural abuse etc.

Physical Abuse:

Physical abuse involves maltreatment such as kicking the child with a leg, burning, strangling and disfiguring the child. Abuse can also occur through neglect. However, the physical force used to discipline or control a child or adolescent can cause serious physical injury. Examples of this abuse occur in some homes, even among caregivers and surrogate parents.

Sexual Abuse:

These include forced marriage, female child circumcision, rape, fondling genital parts for sexual satisfaction by adults, exposing the child to blue films and others. Sexual abuse of children may result in depression, anxiety, and general dysfunction later in their lives.

Emotional Abuse:

These involve publicly stripping the child, confinement in a locked room, inadequate care, giving them various names, and illicit verbal abuse. Kalish (1988), children sometimes exhibit childish behaviours. On the least provocation, some adults and caregivers emit emotional abuse on the child through reckless words.

Such words as you are hopeless, a bastard, useless, stupid, good for nothing, idiot and a fool; I brought you from your poor parents and many other offensive utterances are used by some caregivers used many other offensive utterances. In some instances, the child is abused despite his innocence.

Consequently, the abuse gets into the child’s subconscious being and starts nurturing until it comes to pay. According to Hangard and Reppucci (1998), the child stamps the abuse into themself and behaves likewise. They see themselves as stupid, good for nothing and believe they can never do well. He, therefore, does not see the need to work hard in school and elsewhere.

Recommended:  What is plagiarism and how to avoid it?

This was in line with Nwachuku (2000) who observed that children whose emotions are grossly abused have poor academic performance due to the abuse’s lack of confidence. They develop negative self-emotion. Other negative influences on the children’s emotions include depression and low self-esteem, which affect his work, other habits, public life, hostility, poor relationship with peers, loss of appetite, fearfulness, self-esteem which affect his work, other habits, and general life also, hostility, poor relationship with peers, loss of appetite, fearfulness and suicidal reactions.

Social Abuse:

Social child abuse warning signs includes abandonment by parents or guardians, exploitation, prohibition from playing or associating with peers, and overprotection of the child going to lessons from school without adequate rest or relaxation after the rigorous long hours of the regular school activities. Child trafficking, deprivation from school, looking tattered, humiliating, intimidation or terrorising the child and over restriction from self-expression.

For example, language is used for self-expression, but unfortunately, children are restrained from using language to express their feelings freely. Culture supports this by imposing a lot of restrictions on children and their use of language.

Cultural Abuse:

Different cultural beliefs play a role in the risk of child abuse. Lack of knowledge and skills about childcare may predispose parents to child abuse and neglect, possibly because of frustration and stress created by the child’s needs and its apparent lack of cooperation. Contributing reasons for child abuse seem to be social isolation, lack of friends, dangerous neighbourhoods or lack of access to transportation etc.


This means abandoning the child. The parents don’t care about the children’s basic needs. Neglect may be physical, e.g failure to provide necessary food or shelter or lack of appropriate supervision. Neglect children are left without adult supervision, and many neglected children engage in self-destructive behaviours.

Causes of Child Abuse and abuse impact

Causes of child abuse and neglect include the following:

  1. Age of the Parent: Teenage parent is at high risk for abusing their children because they are not fully developed adults. They are not as well equipped to respond to the needs of their children because there have not been met.
  2. Poverty: This can cause child abuse in a family where food is not available; the mother may decide to send the child for hawking when others are in school learning, and the child will be on the way.
  3. Single Parent: Children of a single parent were at high risk of physical abuse and all types of neglect and were over-represented among seriously injured moderately and endangered children. Typically a single-parent family has less income than a two-parent household, and the single parent is trying to do the job of two parents. Thus, in the worst cases, their lack adequate social and economic support which may make the condition ripe for abuse. For example, if a woman is the one taking care of her children. Because she is doing the job of two parents alone, sometimes she may feel annoyed, and she may now raise the annoyance on the child by abusing him.
  4. Mental Health Problem: Parents suffering from depression or psychiatric illness are at much high risk of abusing and or neglecting their children’s needs.
  5. Emotional: When parents are not emotional balance. They will neglect the need of their children. And if their children request something because they are not emotionally balanced, they will abuse the child by kicking the child, which will also cause abuse.
  6. Drugs and Alcohol Problems: Parents with drug and alcohol problems are at much high risk of abusing their children. Parents with drugs and alcohol problems are three times more likely to physical or sexual assault their children than those without such a problem.

Health Consequences 

i.    The impact of child abuse and neglect is often discussed in terms of physical consequences.
ii.    Psychological consequences
iii.    Behavioural consequence.

Physical Consequence

Physical health consequences such as damage to a child growing brain, severely broken bones, haemorrhage or even death can have psychological consequences such as cognitive delays or emotional difficulties. The psychological problem often manifests as high-risk behaviours, depression and anxiety; for example, it may make a person more likely to smoke abuse, alcohol or illicit drug or overeat. High-risk behaviours, in turn, can lead to health long term physical health problems such as sexually transmitted diseases cancer and obesity.

Physical Health Consequence: Physical effects of abuse or neglect can be relatively (minor bruises or cuts) or severely broken bones, haemorrhages or even death. In some cases, the physical effects are temporary. However, the pain and suffering they cause a child should not be discounted. Meanwhile, the long term impact of child abuse on phy, and an inability to trust can translate into lifelong consequences, including low self-esteem, depression, anger,sical health is just beginning to be explored.

Psychological Consequence

The immediate emotional effect of child abuse and neglect, including isolation, fear and an inability to trust, can translate life long consequences including also low self-esteem, depression, anger etc.

Behavioural Consequence

Not all victims of child abuse and neglect will experience behavioural consequences. However, the behavioural problem appears to be more likely among this group even at a young age. Children aged 3-5year in foster care found these children displayed a clinical or borderline level of the behavioural problems at a rate of ever more than twice that general population.

Societal Consequence: While child abuse and neglect almost always occur within the family, the impact does not end their society as a whole pays the price for child abuse and neglect, terms of both direct and indirect cost. Direct cost includes those associated with maintaining a child welfare system to investigate and respond to an allegation of child abuse and neglect and expenditure by the judicial law enforcement health system.

Child abuse abuse signs and symptoms: causes, consequences and prevention

  1. Educating the parent on how to care for their children and avoid abuse.
  2. If people can manage conflict without using physical force, the risk of child abuse will be lower.
  3. There should be training in life and social skills
  4. They should be training in parenting skills for both males and females

Child abuse and neglect are just the portions of harm done to children, which may be from human action or inaction that is prescribed or proximate and preventable. Various forms of child abuse include physical, sexual, emotional and social child abuse. Causes of child abuse, are as follows single parents, mental health problems etc. prevention of child abuse by educating parents on how to care for their children and how to avoid abuse. Parents should be educated on how to care for their children and how to avoid abuse.


Counselling services should be made available to parents, caregivers, and society in the process of determining specific causes and reasons for parent abuse of their children with the view to solving them.

This can be seen as causing or exposing any child to any harmful, offensive contact or hard labour. Child abuse could also manifest in transactions of any kind which humiliates or frightens the child, experts have further defined child abuse as any act or omission, which fails to nurture in the upbringing of the child growth and development.


Many factors may contribute to child abuse and neglect. Some of those factors may result from parents’ abuse of drugs, poverty, death of any parent or all of them, etc. The above manifests in physical, emotional and sexual abuse of the child.

Child abuse can have the following consequences on the child:

  1. Encourage the child to lie, fear, retaliate and resent an elder instead of trusting, listening and loving an elder.
  2. Lower the child’s self-esteem and can affect the child’s psychological development.
  3. It can alienate children from their family members.


Educating the parents and guardians on the danger of child abuse and the legal punishment of anybody abusing a child will help prevent child abuse.

Conclusion and Recommendation

This paper revealed that child abuse has a severe negative impact on the child’s emotions and consequently, disrupts the behaviour and relationship of the child because emotion has powerfully influenced motivation, parents and caregivers should be careful about their emotional relationship with the child.

Unfortunately, some parents inflict long-lasting emotional scars when they persistently neglect humiliate, intimidate, terrorize or subdue their children in the name of taming training or disciplining the child, by using punishment, which hinges on emotional abuse, the chances of such severe emotional scars and injuries with it associating damaging effects are increased, it is, therefore, necessary that parents, caregiver and the society at large have a chance of attitude towards emitting such stimulus that results to emotional abuse on the child.

In view of the above, this work recommends as follow:

  1. Parents should be educated on how to care for their children and how to avoid abuse.
  2. Counselling services should be made available to parents, caregivers, and society in the process of determining specific causes and reasons for parent abuse of their children with the view to solving them.
  3. The church, the school, and the mass media should be encouraged to serve as resources agents against parent-child abuse.
  4. The government should establish child abuse centres where reports on child abuse could be made concerning society.

African Network for Prevention against Child Abuse and Neglect. (ANPPCAN 1986).

Alabi J. (1986) Abuse of the Child and Neglect

Haugard & Reppuccn (1988) The Sexual Abuse of Children.

Onouju J. (1993) Child Abuse and Neglect Against his-Right to Protection.

Onuzuike (2002) Who is a child.


Drop your comment, question or suggestion for the post improvement

Open chat
WhatsApp Now
We can get that stress off your shoulder.

You can call now on +2348060755653 or click below to chat.