Child abuse and maltreatment is not limited to a particular age—it can occur in the infant, toddler, preschool, and school-age years. Choose one of the four age groups and outline the types of abuse most commonly seen among children of that age.

 Topic 2 DQ 1

According to the CDC one out of four children have been victims of abuse in their lives and action needs to be taken immediately to prevent it. Abuse is defined as any harm, potential harm, or the threat of harm to children 18 years and younger by a parent, caregiver, or someone in a custodial role. There are four types of child abuse 1. Physical, 2. Sexual, 3. Emotional, 4. Neglect. Neglect is the most common of the four, followed by physical abuse, (The Red Flags of Child Abuse, 2021)

My discussion reflects on the infant. During a thorough assessment as the professional we must advocate for this age group. Signs of neglect would be observed as poor hygiene, poor growth patterns/developmental delays, inappropriate clothing for the season, and hunger. The physical signs of abuse to look for include bruising, burns, welts, injuries that mirror the shape of an object, fractures, dislocations, and new/healing lacerations. Another major finding is a brain injury which may cause retinal hemorrhages caused by shaken baby syndrome. The signs of possible sexual abuse to look for are redness and swelling of the genitalia, bleeding, recurring urinary tract infections, and signs of sexually transmitted diseases. Early recognition is crucial to initiate treatment to minimize or prevent further abuse, (The Red Flags of Abuse, 2021).

Parents have a great deal of leeway in decision making on medical care and religious beliefs. In some states religious beliefs that prevent seeking medical treatment for a child is not considered abuse. It becomes complicated when parents deny medical care treatment for their child, especially when they feel that their religion is more powerful. In the United States religious freedom is valued to the extreme where states grant parents the right to refuse life saving medical treatments if the parents can prove that administering treatment violates their religious beliefs. Such religions include Christian Scientist, Jehovah’s Witness, and Orthodox Jews, (The Red Flags of Abuse, 2021).

In the state of Georgia, the procedure for reporting child abuse is to call 911 if you conclude that the situation needs immediate attention. If no immediate danger is present, contact your local police department and The Division of Family Services, (DFCS). DFCS is a child protective service and reporting can be don 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, (Department of Humans Services, DFCS).

As Professional Nurses we have a responsibility and are mandated to report child abuse. Laws used to mandate reporting child abuse has triggered global controversy. The definition of child abuse differs between jurisdiction and the lack of a uniform definition causes problems for mandatory reporters. Reporting includes notifying child protective services, and law enforcement. It is imperative to report child abuse quickly to ensure the child’s safety. Reporting abuse is not an accusation it is simply a request for an investigation and assessment, (Liu,B. 2019).

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