“Every child you encounter is a divine appointment”- Wess Stafford. But in today’s world, children are the one who is being abused both physically and sexually every hour of a day across the worldwide. Comparatively, India is the most cold-blooded country where even a born baby being raped by ruthless persons. There comes a point where the children couldn’t even trust their own family members just because they even are being abused sexually or mentally by their own parents, caregivers, or neighbors.
They have no idea how much harm can cause such an abused child’s life. Child Abuse is happening in every corner of our country for example: in a child’s home, or in the organizations, schools, or communities wherever the child interacts with. When abuse takes place in the home by close relatives, means it is the form of domestic violence. There are two distinct aspects or types of child abuse cases. First, there are criminal cases related to crimes committed against a child, from sexual molestation to assault. These cases can result in incarceration, fines, and possibly termination of parental rights.
Other child abuse cases are generally in the local family or children’s courts. In this article we’ll see about the abuses are children facing in the society as well as their home and what are the provisions and conventions to stop the abuse and punishments for child abuse and also the good parenting to safeguard our children from any kind of abuses.
Types of child abuse:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Psychological abuse
The world health organization defines physical abuse as- Hitting, beating, kicking, shaking, biting, strangling, scalding, burning, poisoning, and suffocating. These are likely punishing the children in the home. In many houses, parents are beating the children by a whip, stick, belt, shoe, wooden spoon, etc. Also in the schools and tuition to make them study. Teaching children differs from punishing and harming. In many cases, the child gets harmful punishment from the teachers and parents. This isn’t a kind way to deal with them. 88% of marginalized children beaten at school, 91% of parents okay with it. The important reason for this is the parents want their children to study more so they allowed beating their children in schools.
In 1992, India became one of 128 countries to agree to the United Nations (UN) convention of rights of the child 1989, which outlawed school corporal punishment and required the government under Article 28(2) to ensure that “school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity”. The right to education Act 2009 further enshrined child safety in schools, stating no child “shall be subjected to physical punishment or mental harassment.“
The IPC provision Section 323 defines punishment for voluntarily causing hurt, the punishment is 1-year imprisonment or fine or both. Under the Indian constitution, violence against children is violative of right to live with dignity which is integral to right to life under Article 21. Further, corporal punishment serves as a deterrent to children from attending school and contributes to the dropout rate. This goes against the rights to education as a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21A of the Indian constitution. In November 2008, the Gujarat high court had ruled that law does not recognize corporal punishment to the child.
- The inducement and coercion of a child into sexual activity,
- The exploitative use of child into prostitution or any unlawful sexual activity,
- The exploitative use of children in pornographic performance,
Child sexual abuse is evidenced by this activity between a child and an adult or another child who by age or development is in a relationship of responsibility, trust or power, the activity being intended to gratify or satisfy the needs of another person.
There was an incident in Pudukkottai Tamilnadu where a 25-year-old man raped and murdered a 7-year-old girl. The main point is that the men were the neighbor and also close relative to the child’s family. No one can realize that their neighbors will do this kind of harmful thing to the child.
The matter is that the perpetrator is typically a known and trusted caregiver. The sexual abuse of children frequently occurs as repeated episodes that become more invasive with time. Perpetrators usually engage the child in a gradual process of sexualizing over time.
In the Kathua rape case refers to the abduction, rape, and murder of an 8-year-old girl, Asifa bano in Rasana Village near kathua in Jammu and Kashmir. On 10 June 2019, six of the seven defendants were convicted and acquitted. Three of those convicted were sentenced to life in prison and three to five years.
Section 354 A – Sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment.
Punishment up to 3 years or fine or both – Sexual harassment of the nature of unwelcome physical contact and advances or a demand or request for sexual favors or showing pornography.
Psychological abuse is like insulting the children in front of others, allowing children to witness the physical or emotional abuse of another. It’s very difficult to know how common child emotional abuse is. Signs of emotional abuse in a child may include: Being fearful of a parent, saying they hate a parent, seeming emotionally immature, expressing a sudden change in behavior ( such as doing poorly in school). Children often feel the need to perform well in school and college examinations. This can be seen as a form of emotional stress.
Neglect is a pattern of failing to provide for a child’s basic needs. There are four types of neglect.,
- Physical Neglect –
Failure to provide food, weather-appropriate clothing, supervision, a safe and clean home.
- Medical Neglect –
Failure to provide the necessary medical care for a child’s condition.
- Education Neglect –
Failure to provide the necessary education. Allowing excessive absence from School.
- Emotional Neglect –
Failure to provide emotional support, love, and affection to a child.
Huge rise in reports of online child abuse images:
- Reports of child abuse images online increased by almost 50% during the lockdown, according to the internet watch foundation.
- In the 11 weeks from 23 March, its hotline logged 44,8809 reports of images compared with 29,698 last year.
- The increase follows months in which both adults and children, many of whom are working at home, have spent significantly more time online.
- The government has promised to draw up legislation to reduce online harms.
- The internet watch foundation (IWF), which is supported by most social media and tech companies, works to remove child abuse material.
Effects of child abuse and neglect:
All types of and neglect leave lasting scars .some of these scars might be physical, but emotional scarring has long-lasting effects throughout life, damaging a child’s sense of self, their future relationships, and ability to function at home, work and school. Effects include:
Lack of trust and relationship difficulties –
If can’t trust your parents who can you trust? Without this base, it is very difficult to learn to trust people or know who is trustworthy. This can lead to difficulty in maintaining a relationship in adulthood. It can also lead to unhealthy relationships because the adult doesn’t know what a good relationship is.
Core feelings of being ” worthless” –
If you’ve been told over and over again as a child that you are stupid or no good; It becomes very difficult to overcome these core feelings. As they grow up, abused kids may neglect their education or settle for low paying jobs because they do not believe they are worth more. Sexual abuse survivors, with the stigma and shame surrounding the abuse, often struggle with a feeling of being damaged.
Trouble regulating emotions –
Abuse children cannot Express emotions get stuffed down, coming out in unexpected ways, adult survivors of child abuse can struggle with unexplained anxiety, depression, or anger. They may turn to alcohol or drugs to numb out painful feelings.
Warning signs of child abuse and neglect:
Signs of physical abuse-
- Bruising, welts, or burns that cannot be sufficiently explained, particularly bruises on the face, lips, and mouth of infants or on several surface planes at the same time.
- Unusual bruising patterns that reflect the shape of the instrument used to cause injury
- Clusters of bruises, welts or burns, indicating repeated contact with a hand or instrument.
- Injuries on the body where children usually do not get hurt (e.g., the torso, back, buttocks, thighs, neck)
- Lacerations and abrasions of the lip, eyes, or to any part of a child’s face.
- Absence of hair or hemorrhaging beneath the scalp due to vigorous hair pulling
- Withdrawn, fearfully, or extreme behavior .
Signs of possible sexual abuse:
Perceptible signs of sexual abuse:
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Pain or itching in the genital area
- Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
- Bruises or bleeding in the external genitalia
- Frequents complaints of stomach aches or headaches
- Venereal disease
- Frequent urinary or yeast infections
Behavior signs of sexual abuse:
- Withdrawal or chronic depression
- Inappropriate sex play or premature understanding of sex
- Feeling threatened by physical contact, closeness
- Promiscuity( which means the practice of engaging in sexual activity frequently with different partners)
- Running away from home
- Extreme weight change
- Suicide attempts or threats; especially with adolescents
- Hysteria, lack of emotional control
- Sudden school difficulties
- Unprovoked cruelty to animals.
Principles of good parenting :
Raising happy and healthy children is a tough job. Parenting involves not just relying on our instincts or doing what our parents did before us, but knowing what works best for our children, and why. In the basic ten principles of good parenting, Author Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at temple university in Philadelphia, gives practical advice on how to raise confident and well-adjusted children.
- What you do matters –
It means that children learn how to behave by watching their mother and father; they are an important role model for the child’s growth.
- You cannot be too loving –
Too much love towards children will spoil their life. Things like leniency lowered expectations or material possessions.
- Be involved in your child’s life –
Be there mentally as well as physically.
- Adopt your parenting to fit your child –
Make sure your parenting keeps pace with your child’s development.
- Establish and set rules –
The rules your child has learned from you are going to shape the rules he applies to him.
- Foster your child’s independence –
Setting limits helps your child develop a sense of self-control.
- Be consistent –
If your rules vary from day to day in an unpredictable fashion, or if you enforce them only intermittently, your child’s misbehavior is your fault, not his.
- Avoid harsh discipline –
The child will learn the harsh behavior of their parents only.
- Explain your rules and decisions –
Generally, parents overexplain to young children and under-explain to adolescents.
- Treat your child with respect –
The best way to get respectful treatment from your child is to treat him respectfully.
Save the children:
Abuse is a social problem that occurs on a continuum. Meaning that verbal abuse may lead to physical abuse or neglect may change to emotional abuse. A parent in crisis or one who experienced these patterns of behavior towards his or her own children. You don’t need to be a forensic specialist to effectively identify children at risk. But, forensic education and increased awareness can help you collect the appropriate evidence and document accurately. By understanding how to care for a child abuse victim, you may be able to stop the “cycle of violence ” one life at a time.
I am concluding that “Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.” Child abuse is a shameful issue to talk but avoiding that issue doesn’t help those kids in need out there who need support. The ignorance of the perpetrator in no way reduces the damage caused by child abuse. It is only with the uncovering of the complete truth as it affects all those involved that a genuinely viable solution can be found to the dangers of child abuse. Let’s kill the shame in society.
The true character of a society is revealed in how it treats its children – Nelson Mandela.
Bhargavi. D | VELS University, Chennai
 www.un.org./United Nation Convention of rights of Child,1989
 Legislative.gov.in/The Right to Education Act 2009/ Child Safety
 Indian Penal Code/ Voluntary causing hurt
 Constitution/ Right to Education/ Child Education
 Hansmukhbhai golakdas Shah v. State of Gujarat
 The Times of India
 The Times of India
 BBC News/Online