Child abuse, these two words hold a lot of meaning to around fifty-thousand children in the state of Florida alone. Though, “physical maltreatment or sexual molestation of a child” is the Google definition of child abuse, it has a couple more sides to it than that. Psychological abuse, neglect, along with physical abuse, and sexual abuse, all make up segments of the horror that is child abuse. Overall, the highest group with children suffering abuse are those under the age of one making up twenty-four percent of all victims. That makes it twice as big as the second largest group, which are the one through two year-olds, that only holds about twelve percent. Now, the first major branch of child abuse I would like to address is physical abuse. Physical abuse is physical aggression that results in injury. Even if unintentional harm is done, the act is considered physical abuse. In some households physical punishment is used to inflict bodily pain without causing injury, for the purpose of correction or control. However, that form of correction can easily get out of control and become physical abuse. Shaken Baby Syndrome (Shaking a baby or toddler that in almost all cases causes serious head injuries or even death.) is one of the forms of physical abuse that has been addressed during the Baby Think it Over Project. On a separate note, not all physical abuse needs to involve hands, punches, or other violent actions. Lactation or the use of drugs during pregnancy is a form of physical abuse and can be harmful to the child, leading to problems such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. In general, hundreds of thousands of children are physically abused by a family member or someone close to them each year, and sadly thousands of those children die from the injuries. Leaving many, many more with emotional scars deeper than their physical scars. Some immediate physical effects of abuse can be minor or severe. Yet, research shows that, at some point during the three years following maltreatment, twenty-eight percent of children had a chronic health condition, from abusive head trauma, poor physical health, and even and increase in the risk to become diabetic later in life and go into a state of malnourishment. Both of which, are equally as devastating to a child. Another major branch in child abuse it the one of sexual abuse. Any sexual act between an adult and a child counts as sexual abuse, examples can be violations of bodily privacy, exposing children to adult sexuality, all the way to commercial sexual exploitation through child prostitution or child pornography. Regardless of their behavior or reactions, sexual abuse is never the child’s fault. It’s the adult’s responsibility to not engage in sexual acts with children. Sexual child abusers can be anywhere from a father to a complete stranger. Signs of a sexually abused child can include inappropriate knowledge of sexual acts, either over-compliance or excessive aggression, fear of a particular person, or even the child becomes very withdrawn from the family. Some behavioral problems with sexual maltreatment include the risk of pregnancy during adolescence as they’re more likely to engage in sexual risk-taking thereby also increasing their chances of contracting STD’s. Victims are also at a higher risk for rape in adulthood. In Florida, about six percent of all child abuse victims were specifically sexually mistreated, or about two thousand five hundred children. A tertiary branch in child abuse is psychological abuse. Psychological abuse, better known as emotional abuse, are negative attitudes or behaviors, and other acts that interfere with a child’s mental health or social development. These actions can range from a simple verbal insult that’s said repeatedly to a more extreme form of punishment. Unlike the forms of abuse emotional abuse is usual found with another form of abuse. Yet, psychological abuse can have longer-lasting negative effects than physical abuse or sexual abuse. Mental child abuse can come from children or adults, siblings or parents, and even bullies and teachers. In Florida, about one and a half percent of child abuse victims are specifically verbally abused. However, keeping in mind that emotional abuse can be found as well in physical and sexual abuse, this number can be up to eighteen percent or close to eight thousand children. Some of the more immediate emotional effects of psychological abuse include low self-esteem, depression, and relationship difficulties. Later effects of this abuse include some form of cognitive delay, personality disorders, depression, behavioral problems, and social difficulties in general. Children who experience such abuse are also more likely to develop antisocial traits or attachment issues or affectionate behaviors with little-known people as they grow up. The fourth major branch to child abuse is neglect. Unlike the other three branches, neglect is caused by a parent or guardian’s omission to their child, making it a lot easier to do to a child. The simplicity of neglecting a child is a reason to why child neglect holds more victims than physically and sexually abused children combined A single act of neglect might not be considered child abuse, however, a pattern of failing to provide for a child’s basic needs definitely constitutes as child neglect. Physical neglect, educational neglect, and emotional neglect are the biggest “sub-categories” to child neglect. Note that, between the definitions of emotional abuse and emotional neglect some overlap does exist. Things that count as physical abuse would be failing to provide food, appropriate clothing, supervision, hygienic and safe housing, and medical care when needed. As for educational neglect, the failure to enroll a child in school or to provide a necessary special education for a child with special needs would count, even allowing truancy will suffice to label the maltreatment as neglectful. For the third sub-category, emotional neglect, failing to provide emotional support, love, and affection to the child’s emotional needs or even the failure to provide psychological care whenever needed. Which might make it easy to see why emotional abuse and emotional neglect have some similar attributes and might be mislabeled. That isn’t to say that emotional neglect is less severe compared to emotional abuse, both can be equally harmful to a child and both can have very severe consequences as well. Neglect, in general, is the leading form of abuse in most states. Specifically in Florida, it spearheads with a little more than fifty-four percent of the victims, or just short of tweety-three thousand and eight hundred children. Many effects neglect has on a child are similar to the effects other forms abuse have, that doesn’t make them any less important or dangerous. Some of the more specific effects would include: Poor mental, physical, and emotional health as well as, some social difficulties growing up and the possibility of impaired brain development. Overall, child abuse is very much so a serious matter. In Florida, it is required bylaw that any person in who knows or suspects that a child is being abused or neglected must immediately report that suspicion to the Florida Abuse Hotline of the Department of Children and Families. The penalty for failing to report knowledge of abuse can be third degree felony on top of financial punishment. It’s the shared responsibility of all of us to report concerns to the Florida Abuse Hotline by phone (1-(800) 96-ABUSE or 1-800-962-2873) or you can reach them online (https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us/). Some big later-in-life consequences of abuse and neglect can include alcohol and drug abuse during their lifetime, as well as, abusive behavior since, statistically, abusive parents often have experienced abuse during their own childhoods. Consequences of abuse and neglect may disappear after a short period or last a lifetime; they might be mild or severe; and they can affect the child physically, mentally, behaviorally, or in some combination of all three ways. It’s worth noting that the definition of child abuse and neglect will vary by state, making it problematic when it comes to reporting and preventing child abuse and neglect. It is also worth noting that any form or child maltreatment is a civil and criminal offense, so, to protect children the American public should seek info and education that promotes the positive care of children. Ultimately, the consequences to child abuse impacts not just child and family, but society as a whole. Therefore, it’s imperative for the all of us to speak for the voiceless, abused children that suffer daily. Its our job to move for those who cant walk themselves. Hidden among the ordinary, we must note the signs, we must be the ones to act.