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Child Abuse

More Abuse Information

03/31/2005

Question:

I have another HUG question, he is always hyper and he doesn't do what we say since we`ve had him. Plus I have a 4 page report to do on this stuff if you can answer these questions it would really help me to understand child abuse alot more. #1. why don`t kids who are abused tell another adult? #2. why do most kids who are abused get scared when you hug them or even try to hold their hands? I think thats all.

Answer:

Kids who have been abused are often scared to disclose the abuse for a variety of reasons. They often fear that they will somehow be punished for reporting the abuse or that other family members will be hurt as a result of the disclosure. However, we do know that kids who are abused frequently do tell another adults. Often times, kids will disclose a history of abuse to an adult that he/she trusts: a teacher, a counselor, or a physician for example. No matter which adult the child has confided in, it’s important the adult reports the disclosure of abuse to local Children's Services immediately.

As to your question about kids being scared when they are hugged: abused children, because of their past experiences, may grow up learning that touch is bad and they assume that all touch is going to harm them. But just because a child acts scared does not mean they have been abused. Many children are shy or may have been taught by their parents that it’s not appropriate to allow other people to touch them.

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Response by:

Robert Shapiro, MD
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati