Does Child Abuse Always Involve Physical Contact?

Child abuse takes many forms, from physical and sexual abuse to abandonment and neglect. While any type of abuse can have devastating consequences, from physical injuries to extreme mental and emotional trauma, the abuse that does not leave any cuts or bruises that can still cause significant emotional harm and other long-term issues. There are some common misconceptions that if the behavior does not involve any physical contact, it is not abuse, which is not the case. In fact, cases involving ongoing neglect and abandonment can cause even more long-term damage than certain types of physical abuse. If your child has been the victim of abuse, whether the behavior included physical contact or not, do not hesitate to contact an experienced child custody lawyer.

What Are the Different Types of Child Abuse?

Oftentimes, when people hear the word abuse, they assume it involves hitting, unwanted touching of a sexual nature, or other behavior that involves physical contact. While this is an accurate assumption in some cases, there are other types of abuse that may not involve any physical contact whatsoever, but can be just as damaging, including the following:

  • Physical abuse: This involves intentionally harming a child by slapping, kicking, choking, shoving, forcibly administering unnecessary drugs, or using physical restraints in an inappropriate way.
  • Sexual abuse: This is any type of unwanted, nonconsensual sexual contact, including touching, forced nudity, taking sexually explicit photographs of a child, rape, or sodomy.
  • Mental or emotional abuse: This is any type of behavior that causes mental or emotional pain, including intimidating, harassment, ridiculing, isolating a child from friends or family members, insulting a child, or engaging in controlling behavior.
  • Neglect: This occurs when an adult intentionally deprives a child of the basic care he or she needs to thrive, both physically and emotionally. Examples include not providing food, water, clothing, or a safe place to live. In addition, if the child has any health issues, and the parent fails to provide the medicine, or obtain the health care that he or she needs, this may be considered neglect.

What Are the Common Signs of Abuse?

Unfortunately, if a child has been abused, it is rarely a single, isolated event. In addition, the abuser is often someone that the child knows, which can make the situation extremely confusing and traumatic for the child. In some cases, they blame themselves, or feel like they somehow caused the abuse, which can lead to damaging and even self-destructive behavior. The following are some of the common signs of child abuse, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse:

  • Signs of physical abuse:
    • Bruises, cuts, lacerations
    • Broken bones
    • Injuries in various stages of healing
    • Laboratory results that indicate an overdose or underdose of medications
  •  Signs of sexual abuse:
    • Scrapes or bruises around the breasts or the genital area
    • Vaginal or anal bleeding
    • Torn, stained or bloody underwear
    • Report of sexual assault or rape
  • Signs of emotional abuse:
    • Easily agitated or upset
    • Withdrawn and non-communicative
    • Doing poorly in school
    • Develops unusual behaviors like rocking or biting
    • Becomes nervous around other people
  • Signs of neglect:
    • Malnutrition, dehydration, or poor personal hygiene
    • Untreated bedsores
    • Living in unsafe conditions, including without heat or running water
    • Living conditions include soiled bedding, bed bugs, smells of urine and feces and lice on the children

If you observe any of these symptoms or have reason to believe that your child has been abused, report the abuse to the authorities and have your child examined by your pediatrician as well as a trained mental health professional. If you suspect that your spouse or another family member is the abuser, you are urged to contact a child custody lawyer as soon as possible.

Somerville Child Custody Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Protect the Legal Rights of Abused Children

If your child has been abused by your spouse or a trusted family member or friend, the Somerville child custody lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. will take the necessary steps to ensure that your child is protected from the abusive parent, family member or friend. Our dedicated and compassionate legal team will continue to fight for you and your child until you are completely satisfied. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 908-575-9777 or contact us online. With offices located in Somerville, Morristown, and Freehold, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.