Physical abuse comprises any form of violence that causes bodily harm, pain, assault and deprivation. Perpetrators of the physical abuse come from different age groups and include children, teenagers and adults. They use violent tactics to control their victims by intimidation, decreasing their sense of self-worth and their self-esteem. Abusers often use verbal intimidation to reinforce their control. Socioeconomic status, race, gender and sexual orientation have no bearing on who becomes abuse victims.
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Child abuse occurs when parents physically and emotionally harm their children as a way to control their actions. Healthy Children.org, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, says that approximately 5.5 million cases of child abuse and neglect are reported each year. Parents and guardians claim that the excessive force is a form of discipline. At time, physical and sexual abuse occur at the same time and may come from parents and other trusted adults. Children have unexplained bone fractures, bruises and ailments as a result of mistreatment. Physical abuse also includes denying food, clothing and medical attention to children.
Bullying consists of attacks by one person or a group of people upon someone they consider weaker than they are. Children and teenagers who are being bullied often fear going to school because of repeated taunts. Physical bullying includes hitting, punching, tripping, throwing objects at the head and ambushing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sites a study of middle school and high school students in Massachusetts which found that 23.2 per cent of bullies witness violence at home. Parents and educators must be aware of physical and psychological changes in victims, including depression, bruises and suicidal tendencies.
Spousal abuse, or domestic violence, occurs in both heterosexual and homosexual couples. Teenage couples, as well as couples who have been married a long time, report cases of spousal abuse. One mate uses violence as a way to control his partner. Physical violence may be followed by an apology by the abuser and long periods of peace. Abuse victims, though, remain on edge because they never know what they may do or say to enrage their mate. Physical abuse includes slapping, punching, pushing, pointing weapons and forced sexual activities. Victims may suffer serious physical injuries or die at their partner's hands.
Elder abuse includes mistreatment of senior citizens by violence, neglect and sexual abuse. Senior citizens experience abuse from family members, caretakers and staff members at extended-care facilities. Abusers prey on elderly victims who are too frail and sick to defend themselves. Physical abuse takes the form of hitting, chemical burns, unnecessary restraints, starvation and withholding food and medications. Abusers often incorporate emotional threats to inculcate fear in their victims, increasing the likelihood of getting away with their crime. The Administration on Aging says to look for broken bones, pressure marks, sudden alertness, withdrawal, bed sores, weight loss and bruises around breasts and genitals. Seniors may become nervous when their abuser is present.
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