What is Child Abuse?
Child abuse, as defined by the scope of law in the United States, is the mishandling of a minor through unlawful wrongdoing, unethical activity or neglect. The charge of child abuse can range in severity and in nature; child abuse can result from unethical physical abuse directed towards a child or take the form of an emotional or psychological attach—seemingly any action that impedes the child’s well-being and growth can be interpreted as child abuse.
In addition to the aforementioned types of child abuse, any neglectful action or deviation from standard and suitable care that results in physical or emotional damage is considered, by the scope of law in the United States, as child abuse. Furthermore, any exploitation of the child, including sexual misconduct, will be constituted as child abuse.
Every jurisdiction in the United States possesses a different interpretation of child abuse; that being said, the act of abusing a child, regardless of form, is considered illegal in all 50 states. The severity of the punishments attached to the conviction; however, will vary based on the severity of the action and the particular jurisdiction’s interpretation of child law.
Regardless of the child abuse charge in a particular situation, all types of abuse—as well as subsequent penalties attached—are administered on a youth. The age of the victim who is being abused, therefore, is the predominant factor when deciphering and evaluating a particular child abuse case. As defined by law in the United States, a child is any individual who is younger than the age of maturity. This definition classifies the subject as an individual who lacks the maturity and growth to participate in various societal functions that are specifically reserved until adulthood.
Types of Abuse:
The term “child abuse” carries many types of abuse; the predominant types of abuse are: physical, emotional, sexual, psychological and the neglectful mistreatment of a child.
Psychological or Emotional Child Abuse: These types of abuse encompass any verbal or emotional debasement that is directed towards a minor or a child. Due to the lack of physical damage on the child, this type of child abuse can be the most difficult to observe and subsequently define.
Although the complexity and general ambiguity of these types of abuse are present, psychological and emotional abuse are extremely serious in nature; psychological or emotional abuse can alter a child’s mindset to the point where they are debilitated from achieving any sort of happiness. The most common forms of these types of abuse include: name calling, degrading, neglect, general mistreatment, lack of caring, lack of support or any other action that will impede the child from maximizing his or her potential and well-being.
Sexual Child Abuse: These types of abuse are perverse in nature and are attached with severe criminal punishments. Sexual abuse that is sexual in nature involves the participation of a sexual act with a minor, whom is legally-prohibited (based on their age) from consenting to such an act. These types of abuse are considered predatory and exploitative in nature and are regarded among the heinous of criminal activities. As a result of their egregious nature, these acts are punished according to the fullest extent of the law.
These types of abuse can also include child pornography, which is the illegal depiction of children involved in lewd, inappropriate and unlawful sexual acts.