Child abuse among school-aged children is a very common form of violence in the United States. The two most common type of child abuse in school-aged are:
Neglect: the most common type of child abuse; it is a pattern of failing to provide for a child’s basic needs, whether it may be adequate food, clothing, hygiene, or supervision. Neglect is one of the most difficult types of child abuse to find, especially because older children may not exhibit outward signs of neglect. They become used to their environment, sometimes having to step up and become the adult. (www.helpguide.org) A nurse should assess for bad hygiene, ill-fitting clothes, body odor, and untreated injuries or medical problems. Nurses should asses school attendance and home behavior at home, if possible (www.wild-iris.org) Warning signs of neglect in the school-aged child include ill-fitting clothes, bad hygiene, untreated ...view middle of the document...
from being physically abused. Nurses should especially assess for age-inappropriate injuries, pattern injuries, and multiple bruises in various stages of healing. The child may be overly fearful or shy (www.wild-iris.org) Warning signs of physical child abuse include frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, always on alert as if waiting for something bad to happen. Also of note is if a child flinches at sudden movements or seems to be afraid to go home. Children who wear inappropriate clothing, such as long sleeved clothing on hot days (to cover up injuries) is another red flag. (helpguide.org)
Cultural differences should also be accounted for when considering to report a possible child abuse situation to authorities. Some cultures have disciplinary practices than could be viewed by others as being abusive toward their children. A parent of a different cultural background has a higher chance of being falsely reported to local authorities as a child abuser when culturally diverse practices are utilized to discipline their children. For example, a common disciplinary practice among low-income Hispanic families is to make a child kneel on uncooked rice when they misbehave. Most cultures promote acceptable behavior with the use of negative reinforcement, some of which their culture practices a more cruel physical punishment than ours. Harsh physical punishment may be common in some countries, but emotional abuse is unheard of, for fear that the child maght develop feelings of rejection, which is socially unacceptable (www.behavioradvisor.com)
Reporting suspected child abuse is mandatory. If a nurse suspects abuse, she should contact the nurse manager or nurse supervisor. At that point, the local authorities, including the police and the Department of Social Services (DSS) would be contacted. There are two other agencies available in my area for the support of an abused child. The Children’s Advocacy Center and the SAFE Homes/Rape Crisis Coalition are available to provide counseling, housing, and medical treatment to victims of abuse.