Child Abuse and Maltreatment

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Child abuse is a global problem, which unfortunately happens in every society, culture and communities. The term “Child Abuse” refers to intended acts that result in physical or emotional harm to children. Child abuse covers a wide range of behavior from physical assault by parents or other adult caretakers to neglect of child’s basic need. Child abuse is a social problem that affects millions of children each year, children less than 3 years of age being the most frequent victims. (Edelman & Mandle, 2010)
For this article, the author chose to discuss child abuse and maltreatment in preschool age children. There are many forms of child abuse such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and abandonment/
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It is important for the nurse to understand certain cultural health practices that may be misidentified as child abuse. For example In Southeast Asian countries like Laos and Vietnam, people from Mien cultural beliefs in natural healing and use homemade remedies to treat most of the child disease. When a child suffers from restlessness, unremitting crying, agitation, constipation and loss of appetite, parents of the child use string of inner pulp (found in a special reed).The pulp is then dipped lightly in pork fat and lit. The flame is passed quickly over the skin above the pain site, which raises blisters on the skin or sometimes burn the skin which can easily misidentified as child abuse. To cover the blister and burn areas, they use Tiger Balm afterward. Only older person in the family can do this ritual to cure child pain. (McIntyre & Silva, 1992)
To report the child abuse in California State, nurse needs contact the California Department of Social services (toll-free number is 1- 800-422-4453) or call Sacramento county Child Protective Services - child abuse hotline at 916-568-6635. Any person who has knowledge of or observes a child whom he or she knows or reasonably suspects has been a victim of child abuse or neglect may report the known or suspected instance of child abuse or neglect. (California Department of social services, 2012)
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