Child abuse can be defined as any physical, neglect, or sexual abuse on a child. In the state of Alabama, nurses must mandatory report to the proper authority to further investigate to confirm or rule out child abuse. Professionals who observe child abuse or neglect are required to ‘immediately’ report’or cause to be reported’the abuse ‘to a duly constituted authority.’ (Eddins, D. (2012). Mandatory Reporting is the Law. Alabama Nurse, 39(3), 7.) If a nurse does not report child abuse according to Alabama state law; they can be charge with a misdemeanor or jail time up to six months. Nurses need to be well educated and know how to intervene in times where child abuse is suspected by using the nursing process. This paper will discuss some common signs and symptoms the child my exhibit to help prevent or stop child abuse from even occurring.
Nursing Care of Child Abuse
Child abuse is a tragedy that no child should have to endure for any reason. The United States has the worst record as an industrialized nation, losing five children every day to abuse-related death. (Breakell Gresko, S., & Stephens, B. A. 2013). This paper this discuss some of the different types of child abuse such as physical, neglect, and sexual. This paper will go into detail to recognize each abuse type for the warning signs and symptoms the child will exhibit. Furthermore, understand the nurse role and how one should respond to suspected child abuse case. In the state of Alabama, child abuse is mandatory to report to the proper authorities even when suspected. Nursing interventions will be discussed to help the child that suffers from abuse to cope and recover from such as devastating act. The nursing process will be used on each type of child abuse to help recognize and further prevent harm to the child.
Child abuse occurs when a perpetrator creates a situation of imminent risk of serious injury, exploitation or sexual abuse of a child under 18 years of age by any acts or omissions to act (Breakell Gresko, S., & Stephens, B. A. 2013). Nurses should assess physical child abuse signs that could be any of the following that cannot be explained or in odd location bruises, burns, bite marks, scratches, and fractures to the child. Nurses should recognize inconsistent stories from the parents and they become very aggressive when asked if they caused the injury to the child. The child may be frightened to tell the nurse what happen if abuse is alleged with the parents present in the room, so try to get the child one-on-one to help confirm or rule out physical abuse. Nurses should recognize symptoms of child abuse if the child exhibits fear, low self-esteem, social isolation, acute pain, or delayed growth and development. The proper authorities should be notified to get the child out of the home and find safe placement for the child. Evaluation of the child physical child abuse, should be continued making sure the child is progressing and improving from the abuse case.
Child neglect is recognized as a widespread social problem that can lead to a wide range of emotional, behavioral, and social problems, as well as to impaired health and even death (Davidson-Arad, B., Benbenishty, R., Chen, W., Glasser, S., Zur, S., & Lerner-Geva, L. (2010). The assessment of child neglect can be classified in a number of ways such as begging for money or food, not dressed for the weather, malnourished, no routine healthcare, or failure to thrive. The nurse should recognized these signs and intervene in the child’s behalf, but sometime this abuse can be unintentional due losing a parent or a job. The proper authorities should be notified to file an act of abuse on the child to get proper placement for the child. The interventions for the child should be considered such as getting up to date vaccinations, help get appropriate clothes, and adequate nourishment for the child. Evaluation of child neglect should be assessed with the proper authorities to ensure adequate healthcare, food, and clothing is available for the child.
Sexual child abuse is one of the most disturbing crimes a person can commit to harmless, innocent child. It includes asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities, indecent exposure with intent to gratify the adult’s own sexual desires or to intimidate or groom the child, physical sexual contact with a child, using a child to produce child pornography or exposing one’s genitals to children or pressuring them to expose themselves (Sigurdardottir, S., & Halldorsdottir, S. (2013). In the assessment of sexual abuse, the nurse should notice the child having difficulty walking or sitting, pain in the genital area, or diagnosed with a sexual transmitted disease. These children can exhibit severe emotional trauma due to this traumatic event that happened in the child’s life. The nurse should try using a doll, so that the child can point to where to abuse has happened to them or if they were forced on someone else. The proper authorities should be notified and child should be safe away for the accused individual. The nurse should address problems the child could present such as depression, decrease appetite, and nightmares. The child should be in an environment where they can feel safe and secure to help them cope from such devastating abuse. Sexual abuse can be difficult for the child to recover from leaving a permeant thought embedded in their memory. The child should be evaluated throughout their lifespan because it can be psychological roll coaster for the child to cope from sexual abuse.
These types of abuse should never happen to any child regardless of the situation, but children are manipulative and easy target for these child abusers. The child will never fully recover psychological due to these acts of violence or neglect without professional guidance. The nurse’s role is to help identify the warning signs and symptoms to help reduce or prevent any abuse act from happening to an innocent child. In the state of Alabama, nurses must mandatory report to the proper authority to further investigate to confirm or rule out child abuse. The act of any child abuse should have prompt action, so we can intervene quickly to bring justice and safety for the children.
Breakell Gresko, S., & Stephens, B. A. (2013). Identifying and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect. Pennsylvania Nurse, 68(3), 4-11.
Davidson-Arad, B., Benbenishty, R., Chen, W., Glasser, S., Zur, S., & Lerner-Geva, L. (2010). Distinguishing neglect from abuse and accident: analysis of the case files of a hospital child protection team in Israel. Health & Social Care In The Community, 18(6), 614-623.
Lowenstein, L. F. (2011). The Complexity of Investigating Possible Sexual Abuse of a Child. American Journal Of Family Therapy, 39(4), 292-298.
Sigurdardottir, S., & Halldorsdottir, S. (2013). Repressed and silent suffering: consequences of childhood sexual abuse for women’s health and well-being. Scandinavian Journal Of Caring Sciences, 27(2), 422-432.
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