Community Update

World Pulse Toolkits Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits are all available here.

We are especially excited to share our signature Citizen Journalism and Digital Empowerment Curriculum. Start learning today!

How Poverty Increases Child Abuse


Child sexual abuse affects all strata of Bangladeshi society. Children are vulnerable from a very young age, with the risks for boys diminishing in their mid-teens as their physical strength increases. Overall, girls are much more at risk and children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable, as they are perceived to be easy to be victims. There are different types of child abuse in different countries. In many ways, a sexually abused child is abuse twice, by the perpetrator physically, and second by society, both psychologically and socially. The matter becomes even more traumatic because the child and his family have to observe forced “silence “on the matter. It may cause lots of bad effects among our children. We can reduce it by taking same steps. Especially Parents & Government can play main roll for reducing child abuse. It should be stop for our better society. The government of Bangladesh too appears to be recognizing the growing problem and has introduced tougher laws to prevent it, though its effective implementation is yet to be seen. We need such are society where the child get enough freedom which they actually deserve. Moreover we have to ensure an environment where they get the proper care & facility to grow up them completely and properly. We can say that child abuse is not only wrong but also it’s immoral.

Child abuse is the physical or psychological/emotional mistreatment of children. The main victims of child abuse are broken family children, sex workers children, street children and child labor. In Bangladesh, There are different types of abuse in our society which may always not recognize. Child abuse has a great impact on Child’s health. In Bangladesh, it is increasing day by day. It is really shocking for us. Now a day’s children are not safe both in home and outside. Some steps could be taken to prevent child abuse. Currently in Bangladesh, There are many institutions that are very much active to make awareness among the people. It should be our oath to make a safe place for children.

2. Definition
Child abuse or maltreatment constitutes all forms of physical and emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of relationship of responsibility, trust or power. Child abuse is the crime of harming a child in a physical, sexual or emotional way. (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 8th Edition). All types of abuse and neglect leave lasting scars. Some of these might be physical; however emotional scarring has long term effects in the Child’s life. Most child abuse occurs in a child’s home. For this reason, we cannot know all of these abuses. Child sexual abuse is a hidden type of abuse, which occurs both home and outside. It is very complicated form of abuse because of its guilty.. In this country, children are vulnerable. Girls are much more at risk and disabled children are also vulnerable. Bangladesh is very poor so that many child works as a labor and some work as a maid, they are abused. Children are scared for this reason. They have a bad idea about society. In some cases, they cannot grow with suitable environment for them. At the day of March 19, 2010, I got news from “Daily Prothom Alo” that is about child abuse. One teacher tortured his student for color pencil. It is really shocking. Our government gave an announcement that teacher cannot torture his students. If he or she torture, he will be punished.

3. Main Victims
As far as we know from the aspect from Bangladesh. The major categories are broken family children, Lack of family unity, sex workers children, street children and child labor etc. Parents who got divorce and do not look after their child properly; those children are one of the major victims. Those children are one of the major victims. They have no shelter from their parents, so that they are one of the major victims. The children of our local prostitutes who don’t have a positive environment to grow up also face this kind of abuse. Our society neglects them so that they are very much abused. The children who lives in street or work specially as a maid in the home, they are also victims. They don’t have a positive environment and positive looking from our society, so that they are abused. Bangladesh is very poor country. Government cannot provide all of basic needs to us, for this reason children have to involve works. However child worker is prohibited. Government cannot be strict because of their lacking. In that case children are abused when they work in the street or inside the home. Female child are very much affected by sexual abuse. They are not safe even in their home. Male children are also abused bisexual harassment from same sex as well as another sex.

4. Reason behind Child Abuse
There are many reasons of child abuse. Poverty is one of the main reasons. From the aspects of Bangladesh we do not have enough facility from our government. In this case major number of members involve in working, so that they are abused in their work place. Another thing is that in some cases children are used as a prostitute in that time they are sexually abused. They are sold by businessman. Sex discrimination is one of the other reasons. We divide male and female child, then some people do wrong behave with them. Our society does not show a positive behave for female child. They are very much neglect in our society. Most of the people in Bangladesh are not conscious about family planning. For this reason, they produce a large number of children and they cannot look after them properly. In this case, their child may be abused. Another thing is that most people are not aware about children. They do not give a proper guide line to grow up children. In this reason Childs do not know what should they do? They are not aware about internal and external threats of child. Early marriage is one of the other main reasons of child abuse. Most of the people in Bangladesh are illiterate. They do not know the effects of early marriage. They give marriage their female child so that the children are being abused. They are abused physically and mentally in their father in laws house. They abused for dowry also. It is really shocking news because in the rural area, it is increasing day by day. Sometimes they do not know family manner so that they are mentally tortured by her husband as well as the member of that family.

5. Types of child abuse
The paper aims to improve our understanding about the prevalence and determinants of child abuse in rural Bangladesh. Data from the 1995 sample survey of 4643 children aged 10-15year in 150 villages were used. Findings revealed that 21% of the children were in the labor force although the Bangladeshi laws prohibited child labor. The prevalence of child abuse and exploitation was widespread in Bangladeshi villages as 2.3% of all children were physically abused, 2% were financially exploited, 1.7% was forced to involve in inappropriate activities, and 3% were forced to work for long hours. The prevalence of physical assault was much higher among younger children although the probability of other types of abuse was higher among older children. Boys were more exposed than girls to abuse of any kind. Poverty was also significantly associated with child abuse. Multivariate analysis suggested that the out-of-school children and the children of illiterate, landless and unskilled laborers were more likely to be abused than others when age and sex of children were controlled. Maltreatment is also termed as child abuse. Child abuse may be sexual, physical or emotional in nature. Depending on various factors and situations, child abuse mars a child for life and may impede their progress and lifestyle. The types of child abuse are described below:

5.1 Neglecting Minors
Child abuse is quite simply neglect by parents for their children. It can also come out of mere neglect of the various needs of children as they grow up. A child may not have the amenities and/or toys that their friends have. This kind of child abuse has a intense impact on the child, as the child may grow up to be anything from an introvert to a person at war with the entire society for no particular reason. Almost eighty percent of persons having experienced child abuse are at the risk of developing severe psychiatric problems. A majority of these children also face trauma and other disorder like the reactive attachment disorder. Some children may also face depression and anxiety. Child abuse can be caused by parents, guardians, relatives or even friends of the child. Any failure to provide the necessary commodities of a child life, more importantly food, clothing, shelter and medical care is termed as neglect. Further, if the parents or guardians refuse or fail to provide the child with the financial support they require, it can be termed as neglect. A number of child abuse cases have been found to have occurred in institutions revolving around kids, like schools, residential schools, churches and even in government agencies.

5.1.2 What is child neglect?
Neglect is the most common form of child maltreatment. Neglect is when a parent, guardian, or other caregiver does not provide for a child’s basic needs. Neglect includes not providing food, shelter, supervision, health care, schooling, affection or support.

5.1.3 How do you recognize child neglect?
Child neglect can be characterized by both physical and emotional characteristics as listed below:

5.1.4 Physical Signs
• Poor hygiene and/or odor
• Inappropriately dressed for weather
• Unmet medical or dental care needs
• Young children left alone and unsupervised for long periods of time
• Failure to thrive, malnutrition
• Constant hunger may beg or steal food
• Acts as a parent to his/her siblings
• Arrives early and stays late at school, play areas, or other people’s homes

5.1.5 Emotional Signs
• Extreme willingness to please
• Oldest child has a parental relationship with his/her siblings
• Is always watchful, as though waiting for something bad to happen
• Has learning problems (or problems concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific psychological or physical causes

5.2 Physical Abuse
Physical abuse also plays an important part in deciding how the child grows up to be. Isolated cases of physical abuse cannot be termed as child abuse. Physical abuse can be repeated injuries and beatings, kicking, burns and other forms of torture. Physical abuse is one of the most easily recognized child abuses as it is can be easily made out by the markings and bruises on the body of the child. State and other laws say that any non-accidental physical injuries to the child or other actions that result in physical impairments in the child are physical abuses.

5.2.1 What is physical abuse of a child?
Physical abuse is an injury deliberately inflicted upon a child by any person, including adults. Physical abuse includes fractured or broken bones, burns, severe and/or frequent bruises, and any other major physical harm.

5.2.2 How do you recognize physical abuse?
Physical abuse is usually identified by physical marks on the child’s body, but children can also suffer emotional damage from abuse. The list below describes physical signs you may notice as well as emotional signs.

5.2.3 Physical signs
• Bruises, welts on face, neck, chest, back
• Injuries in the shape of object (belt, cord)
• Unexplained burns on palms, soles of feet, back
• Fractures that do not fit the story of how an injury occurred
• Delay in seeking medical help

5.2.4 Emotional signs
• Extremes in behavior: very aggressive or withdrawn and shy
• Afraid to go home
• Frightened of parents
• Fearful of other adults

5.3 Sexual Abuse:
The abuse that maybe mars the child's psychology to the greatest level is sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is considered to be exposing the child, or making them partners in sexual or sex-related acts. Sexually abused children are typically inclined not to disclose their experiences due to feelings of guilt and shame, bonds of dependence upon the perpetrators and / or their inability to understand the sexual meaning of the abuse. Obviously, this situation is further aggravated if the perception and attitudes of adults toward children discourages girls and boys from expressing their feelings or experiences, either positive or negative. In that case children who are sexually abused are even less likely to share their trauma with their parents, teachers or relevant authorities. Conversely, adults who value children’s opinions and create an inclusive environment for children to express themselves will enable children to disclose all types of information freely without fear and ridicule, even in case of sexual abuse. Sexual Abuse and exploitation of children has become a widespread phenomenon throughout the world.

5.3.1 What is sexual abuse?
Sexual abuse is any contact between a child and adult for the adult’s sexual stimulation. This includes inappropriate touching, showing pornography, sex and exposure of body parts to the child. Sometimes a child will be physically hurt during the act, but even if there are no marks, a child can be traumatized by sexual abuse.

5.3.2 How do you recognize sexual abuse?
Unlike physical abuse, the physical signs of sexual abuse are not obvious and with some children there are no signs at all. Often emotional or behavioral signs are more commonly seen. If there are signs, below is a list of some of the signs you may find.

5.3.1 Physical Signs
• Pain, swelling or itching in genital area
• Bruises, bleeding, discharge in genital area
• Difficulty walking or sitting, frequent urination, pain
• Stained or bloody underclothing
• Venereal diseases
• Refusal to take part in gym or other exercises

5.3.2 Emotional Signs
• Poor peer relationships
• Unusual interest in sex for age
• Drastic change in school achievement
• Runaway or delinquent
• Regressive or childlike behavior
• Fear, anxiety, depression and/or anger
• Younger children who have been sexually abused may have poor self-esteem and difficulty with close relationships.
• Older children and teenagers may act out their hurt by using drugs and alcohol or having sex

5.4. Emotional Abuse
5.4.1 What is emotional abuse?
Emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that hurts a child’s emotional, psychological and social development and sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, withholding affection, and negligence. If a child is being physically or sexually abused, he or she may be emotionally abused as well.

5.4.2 How do you recognize emotional abuse?
Emotional abuse may not be recognized by physical signs, but a child will react very strongly through their emotions. The list below describes some of the signs an emotionally abused child may display:
• Low self-esteem
• Severe depression
• aggression
• Withdrawal
• Severe anxiety

5.5 Substance abuse:
Substance abuse is also a type of child abuse under the law. If any manufacture or use of a controlled substance abuse takes place in the presence of the child, it is termed as Substance abuse. The manufacture may take place either in the presence of the child or premises occupied by the child. Substance abuse also incorporates selling, distributing or giving drugs and alcohol to the child.

5.6 Abandonment:
Abandonment is also maintained to be a type of child abuse. If the identity and whereabouts of the parents are not known to the child, it is considered as a case of abandonment. Abandonment also means that the child has been left by the parents in situations where they can face physical harm, or if the parents have failed to keep in contact with the child for a large span of time.

6. Effects:
Children suffering abuse develop a range of maladaptive, anti-social and self-destructive behaviors. There are various types of effects of child abuse on children. We can see many physical complications because of child abuse. Some effects of physical child abuse include stomachaches, migraines, gut problems or other physical symptoms not directly caused by the abuse – these are psychosomatic indicators. Abused kids often feel exhausted, starving, or sick most of the time. One possible effect of physical child abuse is passive aggressive behavior. Child abuse is one of the main reasons of depression among children. Anger turned inward leads to feelings of depression, and 80% of depressed teenagers don't get help. They're more likely to suffer another bout of depression in their early 20s, and abuse drugs and alcohol. Victims of child abuse are also suffering from isolation. Abused kids are less likely to make friends and more likely to be rejected by their peers. An effect of child abuse is skipping school without anybody noticing, stopping eating without anyone caring, or spending time with people doing things better left undone (these can be consequences of neglect). Abused kids’ health, achievements, and adulthood are affected by sexual and physical child abuse – and not "just" by feelings of low self-worth. Abused kids are more likely to suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The symptoms of physical child abuse don't end when the bruises fade. Being abused doesn't mean a child – or adult – will automatically have an unhappy life. It’s not the abuse that can ruin everything – it's how individuals deal with problems that make or break their future. Sexual abuse of children and youth is shrouded in secrecy, guilt and fear. Offenders use intimidation and threats to keep the child from telling, but the number one reason children and youth don't tell is that they are afraid they won't be believed. Though there is widespread under-reporting of child molestation by both male and female victims, males are much less likely to disclose. In addition to distorting children's thoughts, abuse also forces children into a position of having to "hide the family secret". This prevents children from having real relationships and has life-long effects. And because our ability to form healthy social relationships is learned, abused children are deprived of many skills necessary to navigate the social world. Their entire concept of a relationship is distorted. This leads to problematic relationships in life and even on the job. Another disturbing aspect of abuse is the experiential restraint it puts on children. If a child fears doing anything new because of the chance that it will lead to a violent attack or because an abusive parent keeps extremely tight control over them, the child will lose his or her sense of curiosity and wonder at the world and will stop trying new things and exercising his or her mind. That child will never achieve his or her intellectual potential. There is a long list of outcomes for children experiencing abuse. They range from mild, almost unnoticeable personality effects to full-blown breakdowns in healthy functioning. The point is that abuse increases a child's risk of developing a number of health and psychological problems. Others effects may be Academic difficulties; Aggressive behavior; Alcohol and other drug abuse; Anxiety; Attention problems; Bad dreams; Bed wetting; Behavior problems; Chronic pain; Compulsive sexual behaviors; Concentration problems; Dangerous behavior such as speeding; Dehydration; Depression; Dissocialize states; Eating disorders; Failure to thrive; Fear or shyness; Fear of certain adults or places; Frequent injuries; Insomnia; Learning problems; Lying; Malnutrition; Panic attacks; Physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches; Repeated self-injury; Risky sexual behaviors; Running away; Self-neglect; Separation anxiety; Sexual dysfunction; Sleep disorders; Social withdrawal; Stealing; Stuttering; Substance abuse; Suicide attempts; Thumb-sucking or any age-inappropriate behavior etc.


Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Letters to a Better World

Letters to a Better World

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

VIRGIN ISLANDS: Queens Igniting Fire Ending Violence

VIRGIN ISLANDS: Queens Igniting Fire Ending Violence

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

World Pulse Launches our Inaugural Community Advisory Board!

World Pulse Launches our Inaugural Community Advisory Board!

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative