Child abuse is a global problem that is deeply rooted in cultural, economic and social practices. It is a state of emotional, physical, economic and sexual maltreatment meted out to a person below the age of eighteen and is a globally prevalent phenomenon. However, in India, as in many other countries, there has been no understanding of the extent, magnitude and trends of the problem. The growing complexities of life and the dramatic changes brought about by socio-economic transitions in India have played a major role in increasing the vulnerability of children to various and newer forms of abuse. Child abuse has serious physical and psycho-social consequences which adversely affect the health and overall well-being of a child.
1. CHILD ABUSE – BASIC DEFINITIONS.
"Child abuse or maltreatment constitutes all forms of physical and/or 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 a relationship of responsibility, trust or power". (World Health Organization).
"Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm" (The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act – CAPTA).
"Child abuse is a very complex and dangerous set of problems that include child neglect and the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children." (MedicineNet.com).
"Child abuse is the physical and/or psychological/emotional mistreatment of children". (Wikipedia).
"Institutional Abuse or Neglect is that which occurs in any facility for children, including, but not limited to, group homes, residential or public or private schools, hospitals, detention and treatment facilities, family foster care homes, group day care centers and family day care homes.