Child Abuse And Maltreatment

Emotional Assessment Findings Indicating Child Abuse.

Child abuse and maltreatment are not limited to a particular age and can occur in the infant, toddler, preschool, and school-age years.

  1. Choose one of the four age groups (infant, toddler, preschool, or school age) and discuss the types of abuse that are most often seen in this age.
  2. Discuss warning signs and physical and emotional assessment findings the nurse may see that could indicate child abuse.
  3. Discuss cultural variations of health practices that can be misidentified as child abuse.




Child Abuse and Maltreatment




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Child Abuse and Maltreatment

Emotional Assessment Finding Indicating Child Abuse

“To terrify children with the image of hell, to consider women an inferior creation—is that good for the world?” (Christopher Hitchens). Physical violence directed at a child is not just child abuse, but it is any way of maltreatment by an adult, violent or threatening to the child, and it includes neglect (Henry, 2018). A form of domestic violence can be identified when child abuse happens in the home, and the abuser for instant, is the child’s parents or caregiver. Child maltreatment can counter all forms of abuse and neglects of any child under the age of 18 years by either a parent, caregiver or any other person in a custodial role, and the forms of maltreatment recognized by most states include physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse where abuse and neglect could be prevented if concerns are identified and raised as early as possible and everyone must know what to look for and whom to contact for advice and support (Liu & Vaughn, 2019). Changes in someone’s physical or emotional state, or injuries that cannot be explained, may be a sign of abuse. This essay will explore the types of abuse that are most often seen in infants, warning signs, and physical and emotional assessment findings the nurse may see that could indicate child abuse, and finally, look at cultural variations of health practice that can be misidentified as child abuse.

The Types of Abuse that are mostly Seen in Infants

Child abuse affects a child’s well-being including their physical, mental, social, and emotional health where types of abuse that are mostly seen in infants include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and physical neglect. Physical abuse includes acts that cause physical harm to the child to some extent causing death (Liu & Vaughn, 2019). Sexual abuse is an act that involves penetration, molestation and other ways of sexual behaviors where a child is used to pleasure the perpetrator. Thirdly is emotional abuse, where one intentionally commits to cause emotional and verbal abuse, confinement, and other types of abuse that deprive the child of food and shelter (Addae & Tang, 2021). Finally, physical neglect is an act that denies or delays healthcare, displaces a child from home, abandons a child, provides insufficient supervision and protection of a child from harm, and fails to provide food and clothing needs where abuse or neglect may stunt physical development of the child’s brain and lead to psychological problems, such as low self-esteem, which could later lead to high-risk behaviors, such as substance use.

Warning Signs and Physical and Emotional Assessment Findings a Nurse may see indicating Child Abuse

The assaulted child is a term mainly applied to children showing repeated and catastrophic injury to the skin, skeletal system, or nervous system. It involves children with numerous fractures of different ages, head trauma and severe visceral trauma with evidence of unremitting infliction. However, even though these cases are awful, this pattern is rare. Children brought to seek healthcare may show signs of sexual abuse due to physical and behavioural concerns (Greenbaum et al., 2018). However, it is not unusual for children who have been sexually abused to show symptoms of infection, genital injury, abdominal pain, constipation, chronic or continuous urinary tract infections or behavioural symptoms. Shaken infant shaking is an endemic form of abuse in young children, where most shaken children are under nine months old. The males are the perpetrators of such abuse, though this may indicate that they are more prone than women to shaking children. Intracranial hemorrhages, retinal hemorrhages, and small ”chip” fractures at the major joints of the child’s extremities can result from very rapid shaking of an infant and follow from an alloy of shaking and the head hitting on a surface (Nappi & Pettman, 2019). Many manifestations of child neglect are evident. They include non-compliance with the healthcare recommendations, failure to seek appropriate healthcare, food deprivation resulting in hunger, and a child’s failure to thrive physically. Other causes of concern include the subjection of children to drugs and inadequate protection from environmental dangers

Cultural Variations of Health Practice that can be Misidentified as Child Abuse

Cultural variations of health practice are important healing methods, but these practices are sometimes misidentified as child abuse. One of the most misidentified cultural variations is coining, which is an ancient practice of healing that up to date is still being practiced (Sue et al., 2022). It is a form of dermabrasion therapy involving intense skin rubbing, used mainly by the Vietnamese and Cambodians to treat various illnesses. Another misidentified cultural variation is spooning (gausha), used in china to remove illness from the body. It results in a linear pattern of ecchymosis on the patient’s skin when a spoon-like object made of porcelain or bone is used to rub the wet skin. Cupping is another ancient cultural variation being misidentified which have been used in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe (Çadır, 2019). Russian immigrants have practiced this technique in the United States, and its use has been revitalized among naturalistic health providers. Cupping is of two types wet and dry where wet cupping, also known as hijama involves minor cuts on the skin to draw blood and is said to help the body get rid off toxins. For dry cupping, the air in an open-mouthed vessel is heated, and subsequently, the vessel is applied to the skin. Lastly, Moxibustion is another cultural variation that is misidentified. It is a healing practice involving burning rolled pieces of the moxa herb directly over the skin above acupuncture points and allowing the herb to burn near the skin’s surface until the onset of pain. Such cultural variations of health practice are misidentified as child abuse, yet they are natural healing practices in various cultures. It is essential to understand the essence of the cultural variations and identify them as healing practices rather than misidentifying them as child abuse.


Child abuse is the maltreatment of a child that may include physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, as well as child neglect, where child abuse affects the well-being of a child including their mental, social, physical, and emotional health and the forms of child abuse include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and physical abuse are mostly seen in infants and a child who is sexually abused may show signs of sexual abuse because of their physical and behavioral concerns, while for a neglected child, it would be evident due to non-compliance with the health care recommendations, failure to seek appropriate healthcare, deprivation of food resulting in hunger and the failure of a child physically to thrive. Some cultural variations of health practice are being misidentified as child abuse, although they are methods of treatment, and they include coining involving intense skin rubbing, mainly used by the Vietnamese and Cambodians. Cupping and Moxibustion are other cultural variations of health practice being misidentified despite them being ways of treatment. It is crucial for everyone to play their role to minimize and overcome child abuse.







Henry, C. (2018). Exposure to domestic violence as abuse and neglect: Constructions of child maltreatment in daily practice. Child abuse & neglect86, 79-88.

Liu, B. C. C., & Vaughn, M. S. (2019). Legal and policy issues from the United States and internationally about mandatory reporting of child abuse. International journal of law and psychiatry64, 219-229.

Greenbaum, V. J., Dodd, M., & McCracken, C. (2018). A short screening tool to identify victims of child sex trafficking in the health care setting. Pediatric emergency care34(1), 33-37.

Nappi, C., & Pettman, D. (2019). Metagestures (p. 232). Punctum Books.

Sue, D. W., Sue, D., Neville, H. A., & Smith, L. (2022). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice. John Wiley & Sons.

Çadır, V. (2019). Non-verbal communication (bady language) and cultural differences (Master’s thesis, Namık Kemal Üniversitesi).

Addae, E. A., & Tang, L. (2021). How can i feel safe at home? Adolescents’ experiences of family violence in Ghana. Frontiers in public health9, 672061.

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