Most parents can’t fathom how anyone can hurt a child, but the truth is that child abuse and neglect affects children of every age, race and income level. Mothers and fathers unprepared for the responsibilites of raising a child can become overwhelmed by the tasks. Families coping with unemployment, divorce, substance abuse and other negative situations are all at risk.
According to Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee (PCAT), the local non-profit agency dedicated to preventing the abuse and neglect of Tennessee’s children, there are four types of child abuse:
- Neglect: Occurs when a parent or caretaker allows a child to experience avoidable suffering or fails to provide basic essentials for physical, social and educational development.
- Physical Abuse: Occurs when a child suffers a nonaccidental injury that may include severe beatings, burns, fractures, bruises, welts or other physical problems.
- Sexual Abuse: Occurs when an adult or older child exploits a child for sexual gratification. Sexual abuse includes fondling, sodomy, child prostitution, incest and forcing or encouraging a child to participate in pornographic activity.
- Emotional Abuse: Occurs when a parent creates a negative environment for a child.
PCAT works with organizations to develop programs, services and resources for children and families where child abuse is present. To learn more about PCAT’s services, visit pcat.org or call 383-0994.