Child abuse is physical, sexual, and/or psychological maltreatment or neglect of a child or children. It may take the form of trafficking or other forms of exploitation that can lead to or lead to actual harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power. According to WHO, child abuse is a global problem with serious life-long consequences.

Types of violence against children

Physical violence

Physical abuse of a child is the deliberate infliction of beatings, injuries or mutilations on an adult child. Signs of physical abuse include bruises, scrapes, scars, burns, abrasions, wounds, fractures, and rough handling that can lead to injury. The line between corporal punishment and physical abuse is often blurred. Cultural norms defining physical violence vary greatly both among specialists and among the public: there is no consensus about what kind of actions should be considered physical violence. Some experts believe that cultural norms that allow corporal punishment are one of the causes of violence against children, and they organize campaigns to change these norms.

Sexual assault

Child sexual abuse is a child’s abuse by an adult or older teenager for the purpose of sexual stimulation. Sexual abuse refers to the involvement of a child in sexual activities aimed at the physical satisfaction of the abuser, or to derive profit from him. Forms of sexual abuse of a child include offering or forcing a child to engage in sexual activity (regardless of the outcome), showing a child’s genitals, showing a child pornography, having sex with a child, having physical contact with a child’s genitals, looking at a child’s genitals without physical contact, using a child to production of child pornography.

The consequences of childhood sexual abuse can include feelings of guilt, self-blame, flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, fears associated with memories of abuse (including fears of objects, smells, places, doctor visits, etc.), inadequate self-esteem, sexual dysfunction, chronic pain, chemical dependence, self-harm, suicidal ideation, somatic disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, other mental disorders (including borderline personality disorder and dissociative personality disorder, bulimia)

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is defined as a single or chronic effect on a child, hostile or indifferent attitude towards him/her, leading to a decrease in self-esteem, loss of faith in oneself, the formation of pathological character traits, causing a violation of socialization. Emotional abuse includes, in particular, loud yelling at a child, harsh and abusive treatment, inattention, harsh criticism, name-calling, ridicule, humiliation, threats, destruction of a child’s personal belongings, torture or murder of a pet

Children may react to emotional abuse by distancing themselves from the abuser, interiorizing abusive assessments, or resisting by insulting the abuser. Emotional abuse can lead to the formation of painful attachments, a tendency of victims to blame themselves for the abuse committed against them, learned helplessness and overly passive behavior.

Lack of care

Lack of care is the neglect of a child’s basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision) by a parent or other person responsible for the child, which puts the health, safety and well-being of the child at risk. Observed signs of neglect include constant non-school attendance, begging, child theft of money or food, dirty skin or clothing, lack of seasonal clothing.

Abandoned children can suffer from delays in physical and psychosocial development, which can lead to mental disorders and impairment of neuropsychological functions, including executive functions, attention, speech, memory and social skills. Research has shown that children who experience neglect tend to subsequently dismiss adults as a source of safety and exhibit increased aggressiveness and hyperactivity, which can interfere with the development of healthy and lasting attachments to foster parents. By adapting to a violent or fickle parent or guardian, these children become wary and distrustful; their insincerity and tendency to manipulation are often noted. Victims of neglect may subsequently have difficulty forming and maintaining friendships and romantic relationships as a result of a lack of affection.


According to the WHO, approximately 20% of women and 5-10% of men report being sexually abused as children; 25-50% of all children report being physically abused.

In the United States in 2011, 676,569 minors suffered from child abuse under the age of 18, including 118,825 children from physical violence and 61,472 children from sexual violence.

According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), a child is killed every 5 minutes in the world.


Research has shown that any form of childhood abuse increases the likelihood of many chronic illnesses. The most reliable research in this area includes the large-scale study “Experiences of a dysfunctional childhood”, conducted by the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found correlations between experiences of violence or neglect and an increased incidence of chronic diseases, risk behavior and shortened life expectancy.

Children who have experienced neglect or physical abuse are more likely to develop mental problems or attachment disorders.

Preventing violence against children

According to the official position of WHO, the most effective multisectoral programs for the prevention of violence against children are aimed at supporting parents and teaching them the skills of caring for and raising a child. Such programs include home visits by nurses to parents and children for support, education and information, as well as group sessions for parents where they are taught parenting skills, expand knowledge about child development, and develop strategies for positive treatment of children.

WHO also recommends special programs to prevent concussion-related head injuries in newborns (shake-infantile syndrome awareness among young parents in hospitals) and child sexual abuse prevention programs (informing children in schools about the ownership of their children). body, training to recognize threatening situations, training to refuse the elder and to report the incident to a trustworthy adult).