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Violence against children has become a worldwide crisis. It is defined by the United Nations as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to children, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty whether occurring in public or private life.” (Coker, Hopenhayn, Desimone 2009).  Children are battered physically as well as psychologically.

They are raped during war and mutilated for beauty sake. They are beaten by owners and employers and psychologically and physically battered by healthcare workers. They are battered in every way by loving family members as well as other power figures in their lives. t (Stickly, Kislitsyna, Timofeeva, et. al. 2008).  This paper will discuss the issue of psychological child abuse as well as those things that make up this type of abuse.

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Psychological child abuse is not as easy to see as that which is physical but presents with some very strong signs if one is aware. Psychological abuse is a pattern of intentional verbal or behavioral abuse that either by action or lack of action, conveys to the child that he is worthless, flawed, endangered or only of value to meet someone else’s needs. Withholding emotional support, isolation or terrorizing a child is a form of abuse. Domestic abuse witnessed by the child is also a form of psychological abuse (Kerry ; Lugar, 2009).

The role of the health educator in this type of abuse is a little more difficult as identification is a part of the role. Children show outward signs of this type of abuse but it may come in the form of sadness, depression, angry outbursts, poor scores in school, lack of attention, or other behavioral problems Heath educators must be aware of these signs and start inquires early (Edwards, 2006).

In the CSHP role, health educators initiate and use parenting education as one of the ways to decrease the amount of abuse, including psychological that occurs with children.  They also remain better educated themselves in the ability to recognize the effects of abuse early , allowing for mental health workers to intervene. This in hopes of helping the child to work through the effects of the abuse as well as having better ability to learn, which then gives them a chance to get out the cycle of abuse(Massey-Stokes ; Lanning, 2004).

Spanking is a traditional form of punishment in the United States practiced by white, non-Hispanic people.  Approximately 94% of white three and four year olds have been spanked at least once during the past year. 11% of parents have noted spanking a child six to eleven months old, 36% a child who is 12-17 months old and 59% , a child who was eighteen to twenty three months old (Slade ; Wassaw, 2004).  In this study which followed young children that had been spanked from the early age of two, they found that 38% of these children had one or more forms of behavior problems which appeared to be related to the spankings.

Though these statistics are high in the United States, it is a cultural belief of the white, non-Hispanic peoples of the U.S. that use this form of punishment in small children.  Many cultures in the world have what is considered punishment for children in doing wrong. It should remembered however, if it meets the definition that is noted at the beginning of this paper, it may very well not be punishment but abuse.

In conclusion, the world is appalled at how vast violence against women and children has become. It is at epidemic portions and must be solved.  There is much study on what is causing the increase of abuse as well as what must be done about it. There are also agencies that are making an effort to solve these problems with CSHPS, WHO, and CDC being a large part of that. However, there is Worldwide help to as everyone tries to reach for an answer to this problem (Ellsworth, 2009).


Coker, A., Smith, P., ; Fadden, M ( 2005). Intimate partner violence and disabilities among family practice clinics. Journal of Women’s Health. 14(9). 829-838.

Edwards, S. (2006). Many cultures accept shocking child abuse. Leader Post, p.A.3

Ellsworth, M. (2009). Intimate partner violence and women’s physical and mental health in the WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence and an observational study. Lancet: 371 (619). 1165-1172.

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