Child Abuse and Neglect: 4 Major Types, Characteristics & Effects

Child Abuse and Neglect: 4 Major Types, Characteristics & Effects
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  • 0:07 Child Abuse
  • 0:44 Physical Abuse & Neglect
  • 2:25 Psychological & Sexual Abuse
  • 4:22 Effects of Childhood Abuse
  • 6:05 Counseling Interventions
  • 7:02 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jade Mazarin

Jade is a board certified Christian counselor with an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy, and a certification in Natural Health. She is also a freelance writer on emotional health and spirituality.

Child abuse is a major problem in our world today. Counselors must be educated in the topic, particularly the four types of abuse, their effects, and what to focus on in therapy.

Child Abuse

Did you know that every ten seconds a report is made about a child being abused? Or, that about four children die every year as a result of abuse? It is a very sobering reality that children are being horribly mistreated every day by adults who are meant to love and care for them. Along with physical damage that is being done to children, there are also equally devastating emotional wounds created by harsh words or neglect.

This article talks about four different types of childhood abuse. These are: physical abuse, neglect, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse.

Physical Abuse

Many of us automatically picture some sort of physical abuse if we hear someone speak of childhood abuse. Physical abuse includes deliberate aggressive actions on the child that inflict pain. Wounds, bruises, burns, and sore muscles are all examples of signs of physical abuse.

Like many boys in abusive homes, Matt lives in fear of his father coming home from work. He forgot to mow the lawn today after school and is worried that his father will become furious again, only to yell and hit him. He wonders if his father has been drinking, which will only make the hitting worse.


Did you know that when parents are continually unavailable for their children it constitutes abuse? Neglect, or the absence of parental care, can have damaging effects on a child's well-being. It is also the most common form of child abuse.

Because Linda's mother is gone again and there is no food in the fridge, she has to figure out how she and her two younger sisters are going to eat today. They often go hungry and feel unsafe as well as unloved. They do not know how long their mother will stay when she comes home, and often, they are left to fend for themselves.

Parents may neglect children because they abuse a substance and are not aware enough to care for others or make plans for them. They may have a mental illness, like severe depression, that keeps them home lying in bed. While they may be present, they are not truly present for their children. Parents who neglect their children may not even have an addiction or illness. They may be consumed with a job, activity, or another person, to the extent that they are rarely available for their children or caring for their needs.

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