Ms. Ibtasam Thakur 

Child abuse is an increasing concern worldwide. It exists in every region. The common forms of child abuse are physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. The definition of child abuse, according to Professor Vincent Iannelli, is “harm to, or neglect of, a child by another person, whether adult or child. This definition of child abuse is very much applicable to most child abuse. Physical abuse is defined as when parents or caretaker assault child which results in physical injury like bruises, scratches, welts, or broken bones. Emotional abuse include such statements by parents or  caretaker that can injure a child’s sense of self-esteem, calling the child negative names, cursing at, or otherwise insulting the child. Sexual abuse is defined as exposing the child to inappropriate sexual content, behavior, or contact. Types of child abuse vary from region to region. Sexual and physical child abuse is mostly common in Pakistan and America. Emotional abuse is also found in Pakistan but it’s different from emotional abuse of other countries .Cultural, socioeconomic, political conditions faulty legal and police structure may also become contributing factors of child abuse. In poor developing countries mostly children get emotionally abused by their own parents or caregivers because high inflation and low income make parents stressful and they lose emotional resilience and abuse their children physically and emotionally. Such abuse leaves everlasting scar in child s soul. One thing is associated with all forms of child abuse and that is emotional abuse. Regardless of the form of child abuse, the result is ultimately emotional prick.  Child abuse can occur in any place where child interacts, it can be child’s home, organizations, schools or communities. Mostly children are abused by the close family members and those adults who have some authority on them .But this aspect become more darker in suffocated societies  where children are not allowed to talk about their abuse in front of their elders. So it remains hidden which not only encourage abuser to assault second time  but also leave traumatic effect on child. Martin Teicher of the department of psychiatry at Harvard University scanned the brains of almost 200 people who had been questioned about any instances of abuse during childhood. He found that the volumes of three important areas of the hippocampus were reduced by up to 6.5% in people exposed to several instances of maltreatment such as physical or verbal abuse from parents in their early years.

   It is very important to identify the sign of child abuse in his or her personality. Sometimes parents do not understand as to what is the reason of unusual change and error in his or her child’s personality. By learning some of the important warning signs of child abuse, parents may catch the problem as early as possible and get both the child and the abuser and may provide required help and support.

   Warning signs of emotional abuse in children are excessive withdrawal, fearful, or anxious way of doing something wrong, shows extremes in behavior (extremely compliant or extremely demanding; extremely passive or extremely aggressive),doesn’t seem to be attached to the parent or caregiver, acts either inappropriately adult (taking care of other children) or inappropriately infantile (rocking, thumb-sucking, throwing tantrums).Warning signs of physical abuse in children are frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, heavy blow or cuts, always watchful and “on alert,” as if waiting for something bad to happen. Injuries appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt, shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home, wears inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries, such as long-sleeved shirts on hot days. Warning signs of sexual abuse in children are Trouble walking or sitting, displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age, or even seductive behavior, makes strong efforts to avoid a specific person, without an obvious reason, doesn’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities, and sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy, especially under the age of 14, runs away from home. (Smith &Segal 2014).

   After noticing the sign of child abuse there are some guideline for parents how they should react. Mostly parents behave in very shocking way after disclosure of child abuse and its very natural also but parents need some emotional regulation .Though it is hard but they need to remain calm and should not deny what has happened with his or her child because parents shock and denial will create hesitation and fright in child and he may not be able to explain completely. Secondly, parents should not interrogate the child because leading questions can create barrier in his communication and choice of words .Let him explain in his own words. Thirdly, make him realize completely that what has happened to the child, it’s not his fault. Try to bring him back in normal world, rehabilitate him with your warmth and love. Fourthly, if child and parents safety is at stake at the cost of intervention then take your child to the professionals let them give initial professional intervention. In this whole process parents should continue their support towards his or her child.

   By improving the social conditions and poverty eradication child abuse may be prevented. Education for all is a key to resolve all basic issues in all societies; the Government should stress universal primary education. Parents should be bound to educate their children and penal actions should be included in law for violators. There should be an integrated national strategy coordinated with different departments of the judiciary, social welfare departments, law enforcement agencies and with the participation of the public to devise such plans which ensure the proper treatment of victims and provide them sufficient support to settle their disputes and improve life. NGO’s and the Pakistani media have played a vital role in highlighting this issue and enlightening the public at large. The media can play a vital role and with the increased number of TV channels, the situation is further improving. It should present programmes and talk shows to sensitize the people about domestic violence and child abuse and about ways and means to counter it.(Rights of the child in Pakistan, 2003).

   In Pakistan, laws against child abuse exist, but there is a not strong perpetrator of child abuse. Thus, the perpetrators of these crimes are encouraged. However, this is high time to speak and take reasonable and strict measure against this crime. Otherwise, this psychological trauma can generate mentally unhealthy generation that can damage the future of nation.